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Livingstone: UK trade bodies must be united

TIGA and UKIE must speak with single voice as "historic differences are crumbling"

Ian Livingstone, life president of Eidos, has called on UKIE and TIGA to unite and speak with a single voice in order for the videogame industry in the UK to be taken seriously and effect change.

This will be vital to pushing forward the 20 recommendations in today's Livingstone-Hope review, which suggests sweeping changes to the games educational system in an effort to make the UK a relevant force in videogame development.

"Progress is all about simplification not complication. In order to be clearly heard, it is important to speak with a single voice. To be taken seriously the videogames industry and its trade bodies must be united to raise awareness of the opportunities it offers and the issues it faces," wrote Livingstone.

"Only then will it be able to effect change. This will only be achieved if there is a single voice representing the interests of the entire industry, both publishers and developers whose historic differences are crumbling with the acceleration of online consumption of interactive entertainment.

"A single voice will be more effective in its working with government, government agencies, schools and universities, the media and other digital entertainment industries. It will be essential, following the Browne reforms to university funding, that students make informed decisions on which courses will help them find employment."

While publisher body UKIE and developer group TIGA have had access to and commented on the Livingstone-Hope review, neither have addressed the issue of collaboration directly.

Livingstone has been critical of the constant call for tax breaks from TIGA, suggesting that such action "smacks of an industry in need". The discord between the two groups has been cited as one of the reason why the Coalition government axed plans to introduce cultural tax breaks last year.

An investigation by GamesIndustry.biz found that while TIGA was lobbying for relief, UKIE had warned the government of the dangers of introducing cultural tax breaks for UK developers.

TIGA said today that it generally supported the recommendations of the Livingstone-Hope review, which can be downloaded here, although it once again called for the introduction of tax breaks in order to compete with overseas competition.

"Ultimately, the UK videogames industry competes on the quality of its workforce – which is excellent – and the tax environment. Measures to strengthen the supply of high quality people available to work in the games industry are important," said TIGA CEO Richard Wilson.

"However, if the Coalition Government ignores the fact that many of our overseas competitors offer substantial tax breaks for videogames production, then overseas investment will shy away from the UK, irrespective of the quality of our workforce."

Michael Rawlinson of UKIE said that the publisher body fully supported the new review and said it was "looking forward to bringing together the interactive entertainment industry."

"One of UKIE's key goals is to promote a skills and education agenda which will ensure that the right people have the right skills to succeed in the games industry; promotes videogames as a career; and introduces more games and technology-based learning into the UK's classrooms - improving engagement with children whilst educating them about the skills needed to produce the next big videogame."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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