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Games Up? campaign showing some successes

Panel of UK luminaries address the UK development landscape and skills issue

In a panel session at this year's Develop conference looking at what has been achieved so far with the Games Up? campaign, some success is already apparent against the objectives that were originally set out - although continued momentum is important.

The campaign has set out to achieve three things - engaging with the UK government, raising the profile of the industry, and to continue to give business assistance to developers in the UK.

"I think we've achieved quite a remarkable amount of press in quite a short amount of time," said Eidos creative director Ian Livingstone. "It's the first time we've spoken together as an industry."

And the importance of that latter point was also echoed by Codemasters chairman Chris Deering: "We've eliminated the problem of being divided and conquered, and now have a single voice, which is good."

But the panel, which also consisted of Frontier Developments chairman David Braben, Bizarre Creations commercial director Sarah Chudley and TIGA CEO Richard Wilson, also underlined the importance of maintaining momentum on the project.

"I've met with a dozen MPs, and although they might be under-informed, they are relatively receptive to the message we have," said Wilson, who added that he hoped to continue to work constructively with publisher body ELSPA in the future.

"I think we have had successes in terms of engaging people," he added, but that "it's important that we don't come across as whingers, though."

The subject of the skills shortage in the UK was also raised as a focus for the campaign, with Livingstone stating that "a skilled workforce that is fit for purpose" was needed.

However, the problem in terms of education was still a big issue: "There are 81 courses, [but] only four are fit for purpose," he said, producing "generalists" which don't have the correct skills as a result of universities "effectively dumbing [courses] down to get bums on seats."

"We'd rather go to Imperial College and hire a guy who's studied computer science, but doesn't know a thing about games…but he can start programming C++ tomorrow," he added.

The Games Up? campaign began earlier this year, and has succeeded in getting some relatively significant mainstream press coverage to date.