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UK govt "does more than it is credited for" - Introversion boss

Tue 27 Oct 2009 8:00am GMT / 4:00am EDT / 1:00am PDT
Politics

But Mark Morris agrees that videogames is still the poor relative of TV and film

Introversion Software MD Mark Morris has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes the financial benefits on offer to videogame developers in the UK is "quite useful" in its existing form, and that the "government does more than it is credited" for in this area.

However - he does agree with the general industry consensus that it's not enough, and that there's a "big disparity" when the amounts on offer are put side-by-side with those available to the film and television industries.

"Well, I think the government does more than it is credited for in the industry, actually," he said in an interview ahead of a host of event appearances this week. "But it's a bit tangential - you've got to work a little bit more to find it, it's not on a plate. I'm talking more now about the money that the government makes available for small businesses, which of course independent developers are.

"So there's a fair amount of money out there for training, for example - now, people might say they're not interested in money for training, but if you think that taking your guys away, having a code jam and coming up with new ideas can be construed as training - it actually is - you might be able to get money to fund that, or overseas trips... it becomes quite useful.

"We've done quite a lot of work over the last few years with the Technology Strategy Board - they've got a lot of money, over GBP 1 billion over three years - to give to companies in general for research... and a big part of that research is directed at the creative industries.

"So it takes a little bit of work to figure out exactly how you're going to make best use of this money, but lots and lots of the work that we do at Introversion (and I think other independents do) is research. That money is there, and it can be tapped into. - we've got the R&D tax credits as well, so fill out your paperwork and make sure that you're claiming as much as you possibly can."

He went on to reveal that he has friends in other small businesses that don't have access to "anywhere near the level of support the games sector is given when it taps into some of these creative awards," but admitted there was "a big disparity between interactive entertainment, and the help that film and TV gets."

He also mentioned the EU Media Grant, which was being restricted to exclude most traditional videogame development, and that more needed to be done in both the EU and UK to address the issue, but overall he admitted the money that Introversion had obtained had been useful.

"I'm not quite as angry as some of the other developers out there, because I think I'm wily enough to extract money where possible, but I do think the government could help us out more," he added.

The full interview with Mark Morris, in which he also reveals how tough the past 12 months has been for Introversion, is available now.

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