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DCMS made sole holder of UK govt games responsibility

Vaizey in charge but UKIE "concerned" BIS withdrawal weakens Treasury links

The UK government has announced a change in how it supports the domestic games industry, today cutting its assistance down to a single department.

Where formerly communication with and representation of games businesses was handled by both the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (with Business secretary Vince Cable at the reins), it now passes solely to the DCMS.

This comes as part of wider transfer of responsibilities, with the BIS also relinquishing all media, broadcasting, digital and telecoms competition and policy issues to DCMS.

Included in this is "sponsorship of all content industries, including computer games and publishing."

Ed Vaizey, minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, had previously acted as joint minister for both departments, but now reports only to the secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

Games industry association UKIE said in a statement that it "welcomes today's government announcement" but "is concerned that links to BIS and therefore to Treasury do not suffer as a result of these changes.

"UKIE looks forward to working with DCMS to promote UKIE's commercial and skills agendas as enthusiastically as they were pursued when the industry had direct representation at BIS."

There has been significant concern during recent months over whether the current government, and especially the Treasury, is interested in supporting the domestic games industry.

While Vaizey at least has been a public advocate of games, there has been much debate surrounding the lack of any government incentives, despite the assistance offered to other entertainment industries.

Discussions are ongoing, however. UKIE, TIGA, Playfish and Charles Cecil were amongst industry representatives who yesterday held talks with Vaizey concerning "the challenges and opportunities for the games industry in accessing finance."

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Alec Meer avatar
Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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