Tiga has set out games developers’ policy stall to Westminster insiders. Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, was speaking at the ‘Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar: The UK Computer Games Industry’ (July 8th 2008). The audience comprised of over hundred people from Government departments, MPs, the media, political advisers and stakeholders in the games industry. Richard said that while UK video games industry is highly successful, games developers were handicapped by an unfavourable tax system and skills shortages. Only if these issues are addressed can the UK play a leading role in the games industry of the future. He said that games developers faced important challenges:
• Competition on an uneven international playing field: Australia, Canada, France and a growing number of US states offer either games-specific tax credits, subsidies or better access to finance. Over the last two months alone the states of Georgia and Wisconsin have introduced tax credits for games development and Massachusetts is actively considering introducing one too.
• Skills shortages: games developers need more graduates. Yet in the UK there has been a 20% fall in computer science students between 2002 and 2007 and a 15% decline in the number of science graduates over the last 10 years. The pool of potential recruits for the games industry is limited, therefore, especially as the same graduates are valued by the City, engineering and manufacturing employers.
• Lack of benchmarking data: information on the video games industry such as investment in R&D, average annual expenditure on training and the value of video games in terms of exports, for example, is thin or incomplete. Developers cannot compare their business’s performance against industry averages.
Speaking after the event, Richard said:
“Tiga will continue to impress upon policy makers the need within the games industry for a more friendly tax environment and access to a greater supply of more suitably qualified graduates. Tiga, for its part, will strive to provide valuable industry data to enable developers to benchmark and improve upon their business activities. Developers face considerable challenges, but the achievement of these objectives will enhance the competitiveness of the UK games community.”
Notes to editors:
1. Tiga is the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe. We have 155 members, the majority of whom are games developers, but we also have outsourcing companies and technology businesses as members who provide services to games developers. Tiga’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business.
2. For further information, please contact: Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga CEO on: 0845 0941095; Mob: 07875 939643; or: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.