Industry support is "number one priority" - Vaizey

Tory Shadow Arts minister claims measures to level playing field are "a given" if they win election

Shadow Arts minister Ed Vaizey MP has restated his claim that a Tory government would look very seriously at fiscal measures to support the UK videogames industry during a panel session which took place today at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).

The event, entitled Playing the Game, marked the release of a new report into the state of games development in the UK, with Vaizey stressing the the importance of the industry to the country's business landscape.

"I think that the videogames industry, in terms of the political world, has come an enormous distance," he said. "When people like Richard Wilson and ELSPA came to see me, they described this industry which is a politician's dream, and I couldn't understand why it wasn't more prominent...and the only way we heard about it was when Keith Vaz raised it in a motion about serial killers."

He cited work by Tom Watson, Labour MP, as another reason for the new-found momentum, having set up a Facebook group with the intention of gathering greater voter feedback on the way that games were treated by society, the mainstream press and the government.

Vaizey went on to explain the extent of his support for measures that could benefit developers in the UK, but first applied the caveat of the overall economic situation that his party could inherit if victorious in a May election.

"We are... in a very difficult economic environment," he said. "It would be beyond my pay grade, as it were, to suggest what the economic situation will look like after the election, and what measures we'd need to take to get back on track.

"But the most important things to help the videogames industry would be those things that will help any business, and that's to tackle the deficit, get public spending under control and reduce burdens on business such as tax and regulation.

He went on to underline the constraints on what he was able to commit to, or "put down on paper," but did claim he was "very sympathetic" on the subject of tax breaks - particularly recognising that "talent is bleeding" to other countries which offer more favourable terms.

"You are competing against countries that are giving active fiscal support to the videogames industry, and I think it's a given that you have to put something in place to, quite frankly, level the playing field - so it is my absolutely number one priority, should we win the general election."

The news will be welcome to those people that have long been lobbying for greater recognition of the need for the government to act, despite there still being some distance between comments made in the build-up to an election and solid action thereafter.

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Latest comments (14)

Ben Brown Studio Technician, Codemasters9 years ago
I'm still a little confused - will he work to make it happen, or will it purely depend on the situation with all of the facts at hand? I'm sure I read something about how he said the Tories couldn't guarantee it.
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Russell Watson Senior Designer, Born Ready Games9 years ago
Sounds like a Tory "me-too" response to Brown's earlier speech. Both talk a lot without saying anything. In fact Mr Vaizey is just telling us what Tiga etc have been telling them for god knows how long.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
No firm commitment. A model politician.
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Show all comments (14)
Mike Rusby 3d character modeller 9 years ago
They promise that they will help but when elected will deny all knowledge of ever having metioned it.
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Iain Lowson Writer 9 years ago
Why do politicians still think people fall for this? Mind you, it's nice to know that the industry is important enough to be paid some positive attention during an election year, rather than being condemned out of hand by, say, a former leader of the Tory party for cheap points with Daily Hate Mail readers.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship9 years ago
I agree with the comment above - even though concrete financial support is still a way off, we've come a long way from being dismissed as irrelevant. I think the relative success of the industry and the growing popularity of the medium mean we're finally on the radar, and no longer regarded as some quaint cottage industry. That's at least a little encouraging.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 9 years ago
An obvious response to Brown, we're wiser than to believe any of them will change anything.
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The pre election hype train continues.
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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College9 years ago
I believe in everything and nothing at the same time...unless itís your time, in which I disagree, but not if you do at the same time.

Tory knee jerk!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Clark-Patterson on 26th February 2010 11:38am

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Vaizey has gone on record wanting the Gaes Industry to have the same level of support as the Film industry for the last two years and long before Brown's speech. Given the finacial situation that the country is in it is just a matter of when.
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Alex Wright-Manning Senior Recruitment Manager, Splash Damage Ltd9 years ago
I spotted this rather excellent picture of what Gordo 'Glass-Eye' Brown, actually thinks of today's voter concerned with the games industry.

Sorry all. I'm just trying very hard not to get extremely angry at no mark politicians once again desperately trying to jump on any bandwagon that might net them a few more votes. I foresee photocalls with various politicians with Wiimotes having a whale of a time. 'Look at us, we're down with the kids. Please vote for us so we can continue to ride the gravy train.'

Come back Guy Fawkes, all is forgiven....

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Alex Wright-Manning on 26th February 2010 5:43pm

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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
Alex, if you want to criticise the guy that's fine, but you should stop going on about his glass eye - you've mentioned it a number of times now. If he was in a wheelchair, would you call him Gordo 'Wheelchair' Brown?

I dislike him as much as the next guy, but I'll say this - after the election it'll still be Brown and Labour that are in government. The election will be 1992 in reverse - wait and see. I'm hoping that the recent comments may be the start of something, but we'll see.

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Alex Wright-Manning Senior Recruitment Manager, Splash Damage Ltd9 years ago
Come on Fran, don't take the indignant moral high ground. I'm using it as an allusion to his short-sightedness and blinkered view shared by most politicians. I'm certainly not making fun of his disability, I'm sure it was very difficult for him growing up as a young man, and conclusive proof that despite disabilities you can reach the very pinnacle of your chosen career. Besides 'Wheels' would be much better than Gordo 'Wheelchair' Brown anyway....

As for 'wait and see'? I foresee the lowest ever voter turnout, and Labour staying in power due to the sheer apathy of the British public. Let's hope Labour don't do what the Tories did in 1992 and do everything in their power to leave an almighty mess for the Labour government they were certain were going to succeed them, and who never did. Mind you, it couldn't get much worse. Could it?
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Gregory Keenan9 years ago
Tories copying Brown? I thought the tories brough the games industry up ages ago (as in a couple of years ago). I remember it at PM's questions (yes I watch it - its nice hearing directly what they say, not a sound bite some journalist uses to push his report one way or the other) a tory minister asking about tax breaks. Gordo didn't answear the question at all saying "We already give tax breaks to Films"

If anyones pandering for votes here its labour.
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