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TIGA is 10: Looking Back

Jason Kingsley and Philip Oliver on the evolution of the organisation

To continue our celebration of UK trade association TIGA's tenth birthday we have a double-header of interviews, starting with a look back at the origins of the organisation.

Both Jason Kingsley, CEO of Rebellion, and Philip Oliver, CEO of Blitz, were two of the founding members of TIGA, and here they look back at the challenges of the past ten years. First of all, where did the name "TIGA" come from?
Philip Oliver

I do actually remember that conversation - it was at Osborne-Clark, and there must have been about 12 developers there. By this time, this wasn't the very beginning, but at that table TIGA was going to happen. [Original CEO] Fred Hasson was in the room and we just needed a name, so we were basically working out what letters we had to play with.

We had Trade and Association - so that's T and A. We had Games, giving us G and Independent was I... we were basically throwing those around trying to make words. I think it was Jez San [founder of Argonaut Software] who said we were so close to "tiger" but not quite.

I said: "Tigers are cool, tigers are good... can we spell it differently?" So before that, what were the origins of the idea for a trade association of independent developers?
Jason Kingsley

As far as I remember, there were all these different meetings. There was one in Tokyo, one in Los Angeles, and the developers would informally get together and have a chat once a year, in foreign places. I think the outcome was that we'd either keep doing it forever on an informal basis, or how about we set up a proper organisation that we all pay towards and they can represent the industry - rather than any one organisation.

Philip Oliver

One of the first dinners that was organised was down in London by Angela Sutherland, who was running Teeny Weeny Games. That was the first time I got invited, with Andrew - and was probably the first time we were introduced to people like Chris and Jason. Peter Zetterberg was there too - there were probably about 20 people in the room. It was in a restaurant, pay-your-own-way.

But after that I just remember that at every trade event we all, through phone calls or emails, decided to catch up for another dinner. That happened for about three years - a drink, a beer, dinner, and so on. But at that point nobody was looking after the interests of developers in the UK?
Jason Kingsley

There was ELSPA doing their publishers' thing, which was more to do with box-shifting and retail, and those issues. They just ignored the development community in its entirety. There weren't that many big, independent developers as such, either.

The big independent developers were starting to grow and gain professionalism - it was a lot of the bedroom shops that had transformed themselves into sophisticated business... but we hadn't yet got a trade association, so it really came out of that.

Philip Oliver

Also, issues about best practices, the government, what the overall public opinion of games were and so on really weren't the issue for those bedroom coders, just struggling to employ your fifth member of staff. Those issues are well out of your sphere of caring.

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