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Bitmaps accepted for Access to Finance scheme

Veteran developers The Bitmap Brothers, responsible for treasured 16-bit classics like Chaos Engine, have been accepted into a government scheme to help improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises.

Industry veterans The Bitmap Brothers have become one of the first companies to be accepted for the Government's "Access to Finance" initiative for expanding businesses.

The Access to Finance scheme allocates government cash to, surprisingly enough, improving access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and is managed by the Government Office for London.

The Bitmaps deal will see the developer backed by business accelerator Pembridge, who will refine the company's business plan and methodology, giving them a better chance of securing expansion capital.

Pembridge comprises senior players from the finance, advertising, music, film, TV, PR and marketing sectors and portfolio companies have access to the broad sector knowledge of all nine Pembridge partners.

Obviously happy with the partnership, The Bitmap Brothers' Business Development Director Ed Bartlett reflected on the state of the games biz, commenting that "it is no secret that the industry has faced turbulent times recently, and not just for smaller developers."

"However, without a hit franchise cash cow it is becoming particularly difficult for small independent developers to survive, regardless of their heritage or abilities," he said on Thursday. He's certainly not alone in feeling this way, but despite a long line of revered classics including Speedball 2, Xenon 2 and Chaos Engine, The Bitmaps have been suffering under the pressure as much as any other.

"Working on a single project is also increasingly problematic, maximising publisher control of your cash flow and minimising your ability to cross-collateralise resources and risks between projects," he added. "Working with Pembridge will enable us to distil our business operations and help to secure the necessary funding to put our ambitious expansion plans into effect."

The Bitmaps Brothers recently shipped strategy title World War II: Frontline Command to critical acclaim. The game picked up a coveted 9/10 score on sister site, where it was celebrated for employing realistic strategy that will appeal to the mainstream. Thanks to the Access to Finance scheme, it seems we can expect much more of this in the future.

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Tom Bramwell avatar
Tom Bramwell: Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.