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TIGA is 10: Looking Ahead

James Brooksby and Patrick O'Luanaigh on future challenges for the organisation

Celebrating 10 years of TIGA, yesterday we spoke to two of the founding members, Jason Kingsley from Rebellion and Blitz Games Philip Oliver, looking back on the challenges of the past ten years.

In a companion piece published today we speak to two TIGA members representing new businesses in the development sector, doublesix boss James Brooksby and Patrick O’Luanaigh of nDreams, on the new breed of self-publishers and uniting a fragmented market. Can you just explain when and why you joined TIGA first of all?
James Brooksby

Well, because we're in the same group as Kuju Entertainment, we've been part of TIGA for as long as I can remember to be honest. We've always been there and supported it, and [Kuju co-founder] Ian Baverstock has always been a very big part of TIGA, certainly in its early years.

So as Kuju, TIGA's been very important for us in looking to represent us as a large independent developer - certainly with its fight for recognition from the UK government, and in pushing towards potential tax breaks to create a more even playing field in the work-for-hire space.

I think that's been very, very important - it's going to take a long time, and we're still not there, but it is making a difference for the development community as a whole, and all TIGA members.

For doublesix more specifically, in recent times, my part of the business - which is moving into self-publishing - more recently it's been TIGA evolving to recognise that's a new part of the industry. All credit to them, they really are getting behind it and recognising that their membership is changing rapidly from a few years ago, when it was all about work-for-hire.

One of the few things it could do was tax breaks - and perhaps ratings - but now there's a lot it can potentially do to support burgeoning businesses and help other really small groups of people get into this space.

Patrick O'Luanaigh

We joined TIGA three of four months after I founded nDreams back in 2007. I think one of the main reasons we joined - because I came from a publishing background and didn't know too much about it - was that we wanted to get to know other developers.

They also had a great welcome pack, which had all sorts of legal contacts, some draft contract ideas and other bits and pieces that were actually really useful - because I didn't have a clue at the time about that sort of stuff.

It's been really good - I've been particularly impressed with the way it's been changing over the last year or so, specifically the political clout that it's got now. I don't think it ever had as much of that as it does now.

Plus, as James said, the way it's moving towards a real awareness of the new developers and publishers springing up in the UK. People get down about the UK quite a lot - that everyone's moving away to Canada and so on - but actually there are some fantastic companies coming up that are doing things differently; not using the same development model that's rubbish, the work-for-hire model.

I think that's what's so exciting - TIGA recognises that and is pushing it along. There are some great self-publishing groups, and we have all sorts of bits and pieces that get people talking, sharing information and helping each other out. You talk about lending assistance to new companies - what practical help does TIGA cover in that process exactly?
James Brooksby

Well, it's not finished in their eyes I think - I'm sure Richard [Wilson, CEO] would say there's a lot more that they intend on doing. But certainly in the last year or so there's been quite a few small self-publishing talks and groups where they've brought people together to encourage them through sessions, with people that are doing it who have some opinions on how they can help. It's anything from legal through to sales, distribution and marketing - and those are good networking events too, and that's key. They do a great job of organising events where you're going to find somebody that you can do business with - that's probably going to help your business.

I know they're also doing some other activities at the moment - one which Patrick and I know of is for the people that are right in the midst of self-publishing and are among the leading self-publishing companies in the UK, we've got a group that TIGA have pulled together that will sit down and really work out what the organisation can do for us, and what we can do for each other.

We are competing against the rest of the world, and there are a lot of hurdles to get over. Working as a group that's pretty collaborative should work quite well. And on the other hand, being more inclusive, TIGA's pulling together documentation, and I think trying to build something that's almost a book on self-publishing to distribute to its membership; and to encourage new members in.

Patrick O'Luanaigh

There are a few things that I'm excited about at the moment, including that which James just mentioned - getting the new breed of self-publishers together to talk about, share and help each other out is vital. We don't do enough of that; we're quite reserved. I think some companies in the UK keep confidential, they don't want to share stuff - and I think actually we need to work with each other to be better than the guys in San Francisco on a lot of this stuff.

I think the political stuff they're doing - not just the big tax breaks stuff, which is what everybody always talks about... whether we can get incentives like Canada - but also things like R&D tax credits, and people forget that can save an awful lot of money for those of us doing cutting edge stuff.

It's a bit of a grey area, and I know TIGA is working really hard to try and clarify the ways we can get that - that will make a big difference for a lot of the companies actually developing stuff.

And then I think the other thing is getting discounts from people doing motion capture, and legal things, and all sorts of things that members can benefit from - that just goes straight down to the bottom line to help save developers money. Spending money on publishing - it's quite an expensive business doing marketing and PR - and every pound is useful.