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UKIE founds new developer group, receives UKTI contract

Livingstone to lead, will "help all development studios, including indie start-ups, grow and scale"

UKIE has founded a new, developer-specific group of members, headed up by Ian Livingstone, to help grow the business of UK studios and developers.

The new unit will "help all development studios, including indie start-ups, grow and scale", according to a statement given to Develop Online by the trade body.

Our members actually own at least 30 development studios in the UK and members have asked UKIE to ensure we listen to their wants and needs, hence Ian leading this initiative," UKIE chairman Andy Payne told GamesIndustry.biz.

The move puts UKIE, which previously focused on publishers, largely based outside of the UK, in more direct competition with the local industry's other trade body, TIGA, which has traditionally been seen as the developers' representative, but UKIE has ensured GamesIndustry.biz that any overlap should not be interpreted as aggression.

"Our partners at the Digital Shoreditch have welcomed this approach and we are already welcoming tech start ups such as Playmob as members," continued Payne. "We see the value that both the larger companies and smaller start ups can create. UKIE made the commitment to represent the wider interactive entertainment industry and we are delivering on that commitment. But we will always respect TIGA and their members, and will continue to work with TIGA for the greater good of the industry as a whole."

Recently, TIGA itself has expanded its remit, too, encouraging participation from publishers as well as developers and highlighting the increasingly blurry distinction between the two.

The two bodies had courted the idea of a merger previously, although those plans never progressed much further than initial discussions, despite support for the idea from large sections of the UK community. Rejection of the deal was largely attributed to TIGA.

In a further escalation of the perceived competition between the two bodies, UKIE has procured the contract from the UKTI which will see it named as the official trade body partner for GDC Europe and Gamescom, a contract which had previously been awarded to TIGA.

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Dan Pearson