Trade association TIGA has called for a games investment fund (GIF) to help support small and medium-sized developers who often struggle to gain access to finance. The scheme has support of the co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Video Games - MP's Chris White and Chris Law.
The GIF would ideally be worth 5m annually, with 25 loans or matched grants being distributed at up to 200,000. The money would be accompanied by a business advisory service and mentoring. It would be managed by the British Film Institute (BFI), the UK Games Talent and Finance Community Interest Company or one of the British Business Bank's finance providers. The money could be raised from the National Lottery or Grant-in-Aid money from the Government.
TIGA said in a statement that smaller games developers often struggle to secure private equity finance. With 89% of developers who had tried to raise finance this way failing to do so. It also found that 73% of surveyed developers said the GIF would allow them to create original games IP that would otherwise be impossible to get off the ground.
Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, spoke of a similar scheme in FInland: Operated by the agency Tekes [that] has provided financial support to over one fifth of the entire Finnish games industry's studio population. The scheme has also more than paid for itself: for every euro invested in the games industry by Tekes, a return ranging from nine to 26 euros has been generated.”
Chris White MP supported the call for a GIF: I support TIGA's call for the creation of a Games Investment Fund, which has the potential to provide a significant boost to the video games industry. It is particularly important that we support small and medium-sized firms and the Games Investment Fund would improve access to finance, as well as promoting creativity and innovation in the UK.
The video games sector continues to play an important role in our economy and represents some of the very best of our creative talent. Finding new ways to support games developers, such as through a new Games Investment Fund, is needed to ensure the industry fulfils its potential.”
TIGA claims the scheme could increase GDP by 178m, employing 600 extra staff, helping 125 studios and contributing 74m in tax revenues, all over five years.