Skip to main content

Pickford questions TIGA motives

Argues association has little to offer small developers, but Neon Play MD disagrees

Industry veteran Ste Pickford, of the Pickford Bros, has questioned the motives of trade association TIGA, responding to its recent publication The Guide to Self Publishing.

"Does TIGA exist to support the UK game development industry, or does it exist to support itself?" He shared his view in a post on his blog.

Pickford pointed out the guide, designed for independent developers, is free to TIGA members but £120 to everyone else.

"So the organisation supposedly representing game developers, the very group that ideally would be at the centre of this free flow of information between the people who make free to play games and offer free help to each other, are charging £120 for a book of tips and advice."

He noted that the independent industry has always had a culture of helping each other, and doing it without expecting a fee in return.

"Not only does everyone in the games industry share help and information freely already (and thanks to the internet that information is easily and instantly available), but the current trend in video game self publishing is for making our actual games themselves free to play!"

He also specifically mentioned the recent, and totally free, GamesIndustry International podcast episode which features Peter Molyneux, Sean Murray, Henrique Olifiers and Tom Page, and offers advice to indie developers.

He argued that TIGA is set up to support big studios, "with membership fees designed to keep out bedroom coders, and 'founder member' benefits" and admitted he's unsure and uncomfortable with their aims and associations.

"TIGA has always lobbied the government for tax breaks for the UK games industry, which I'm somewhat ambivalent about (not just tax breaks themselves, but I'm uncomfortable about with the very concept of government lobbying), and their close connection to, and therefore legitimisation of, the controversial Train2Game organisation makes me slightly uncomfortable too."

Oli Christie, managing director of Neon Play, responded to the post and defended TIGA, arguing that the membership fee was worthwhile even to smaller developers.

"Neon Play joined TIGA last year (I think it was £750 to join) and initially I was not sure if it was worth the dosh," he explained.

"But we have saved that 4-5 times over with benefits, introductions, cost-savings, etc, plus what TIGA has spent much of its time doing is getting these tax breaks, which whether you like them or not, will save game studios a lot of money and keep us all going."

Pickford has long championed independent developers, and last November argued that the BAFTA awards were biased towards triple-A titles.

Read this next

Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
Related topics