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TIGA calls for government to reassure UK games industry

Post-Brexit Britain will be a harder place to do business, warns body

TIGA has weighed in on the issues of Brexit and the effects of leaving the EU on the British games industry, warning that the government must ensure that it remains committed to keeping domestic development competitive in the wider global market.

In a statement issued this morning, CEO Richard Wilson identified four key issues which are likely to have an impact on how Britain's industry will fare over the coming months and years.

Access to finance will be a key issue as a depressed and uncertain economy makes for a nervous investment climate; Video Games Tax Relief and R&D Tax Relief must be preserved and perhaps even strengthened post-Brexit; access to talent is likely to become even more difficult as EU workers are either prevented from joining UK companies or decide to work within EU borders instead; and IP protection will need significant reinforcement as much of the UK's legislation is tied to EU membership.

"The UK video games industry is a high technology sector that provides high skilled employment for over 30,000 people, including approximately 11,000 development staff and which contributes 1.1 billion to UK GDP," said Dr Wilson.

"It is also export oriented, with at least 95 per cent of studios exporting. Following the referendum in favour of 'Brexit', it will be more vital than ever to strengthen (and avoid harming) those sectors where the UK has a comparative competitive advantage: for example, aerospace, defence, high-value manufacturing and engineering, high technology industries, higher education, low carbon technology and the creative industries, including the video games sector.

"For the video games industry, it is particularly important that policy makers ensure games companies have access to sufficient finance, benefit from Video Games Tax Relief and R&D Tax Relief, have clear and stable IP rights and can access highly skilled people from outside of the UK. Any new points based migration system must not be onerous or complicated, otherwise the industry's growth could be held back."

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Latest comments (10)

Robert Bantin Senior Audio Programmer, Massive Entertainment2 years ago
What I'd like to see out of this:
1. A larger tax shelter for games that includes games middleware development,
2. A fast track work visa scheme for employing people from outside the UK.
3. Subsidies and finance available to studios of any size.
4. Bursaries for studying game-related subjects at university.

What I'm expecting to see out of this:
1. The legacy EU arrangement in play until the UK government finds a reason to shut it down.
2. A vast brain drain to the EU and Canada.
3. English technical universities understaffed and the standard of graduates falling further.
4. The future of game development resting entirely on Scottish shoulders, who will probably want to leave the UK in order to join the EU.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Robert Bantin on 25th June 2016 12:59am

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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop2 years ago
Let's face it, in a country where people have been promised 350 million a week to the NHS, that's now being backtracked on, they're not going got be too happy out their "recovered" EU money going to fund video games.
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Yup, what Anthony said is spot on. Gonna be bigger fish to fry. And forget about trying to raise money in this climate.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jon Kimmich on 24th June 2016 7:06pm

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Show all comments (10)
Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media2 years ago
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Wahib Yousaf Computer Games QA Tester/ Game Developer 2 years ago
It wasn't actually 350M man, weren't you listening?! That was 'made up'. And it doesn't help the games industry if you guys all purposefully sh** all over its good name.

Games aren't responsible for the Brexiters' problems. The Brexiters are.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 2 years ago
Historically speaking, if something you do gets France and Germany together in one room to coordinate their response, chances are you will not like the result; ask Luxembourg about 842. Take special note that France and Germany did not have a meeting to come up with a response, they already seem to have it. Open drawer, take plan Brexit, meet with Benelux and Italy one day later and the rest of EU three days later. That is a diplomacy blitzkrieg.

Definite yes for a brain drain here. The large EU economies were already brain draining the smaller ones.
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 2 years ago
The stuff Robert suggests certainly seems like exactly what the UK games industry needs - various industry spokespeople have raised it to the government more than once. And let's face it, it's not like the UK has a lot of other industries, as I don't think educating future dictators counts as one.

Let's face it, games are still a multi-billion dollar international industry, but interest from politicians and university boards in making sure that the UK is capable of claiming its fair share of that money seems dreadfully low (possibly because the average politician winds up tweeting "Ed Balls" when attempting to Google himself?)

I'm particularly on board with bursaries and funding for games-related university departments. Last year, it was confirmed that my school at the University of Reading will shut down after years of dwindling funding, but when I was there it was like a roster of some of superluminaries of computer science and cybernetics, though I just barely missed the chance to study with my personal hero, Dr James Lovelock. It was a real privilege to study there, not to mention that degrees in the School of Systems Engineering covered the most fascinating, exciting, cutting edge material. I got motion sick from VR years before the general public got to use that particular sickbag!

And yes, a lot of my fellow alumni went into games (games, academia and "I'm not allowed to talk about my job" were the three main employers).

It's not the only Computer Science-related school that's either had funding cut or outright closed in the last few years either. Without top-class degrees and the funding needed to take them regardless of parental wealth, the UK games industry is going to have to look somewhere for top-class graduates.

Like maybe those horrible, horrible locust-esque immigrants that Nigel Farrage is always warning us about.

Also guess who got offered a job on the continent on Thursday bloody morning? *expletives*
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In UK. We could aim to have stronger integrated games development education and ongoing education for those in the industry.
Eg. Evening class educational get togethers in different regions. Starting at grass roots levels initially
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios2 years ago
We have those. I happen to be involved in http://gameswales.org but there are similar outreach bodies throughout the UK and have been for some years. But yes, universities and industry need to have closer ties to ensure that graduates are learning the necessary skills.
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@John Good grief.
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