Raising the UK's Games Industry

NESTA (The National Endowment for Science Technology&the Arts) is launching a new£450,000 national initiative to drive growth, collaboration and innovation in the UK games industry.

Set up in partnership with TIGA, Dare to be Digital (The University of Abertay) and Crossover Innovation Labs, Raise the Game, will help the industry build on the world-class creative talent base already in the UK.

To launch the initiative, a special event is being held today (Monday 7th July) at NESTA, 1 Plough Place, London, EC4 1DE - where industry specialists will give their insight into the current games market. The keynote speech will come from the BBC's technology correspondent, Rory Cellan Jones, on the changing media attitudes to the UK games industry.

Raise the Game will involve four strands:

Mentoring programme– which teams experienced business people up with games SMEs in order to grow their business.

Ease skill shortages - help SMEs to find talented recruits, staff share schemes and to facilitate job swaps between complementary industries.

Nurture new innovative talent - provide intern placements in SME development studios, drawing from graduates of the international games competition Dare to be Digital.

Crossover - a series of 'innovation labs' fostering new collaborations and ideas for cross platform content– designed to bring games SME’s to commissioners from beyond the traditional games sector.

Innovation across these areas is vital for helping the billion-pound games sector perform successfully against global competition. The initiative builds on an already world-class creative talent base in the UK to help games SMEs achieve the commercial success their talent deserves.

Last year saw unprecedented growth in sales of video games, a rise of 16% on the previous year, bringing the total to 75.9 million units sold, while record sales of interactive entertainment software across all formats totalled£1.72 billion, an increase of 26%. *

Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, comments:“Skill shortages are a major problem for games developers, from Brighton to Dundee. I am delighted, therefore, for NESTA's support in providing a range of human resources solutions for the games industry, including the recruitment of staff, job sharing and job swapping. TIGA's project will help to ameliorate skill shortages, encourage knowledge transfer and facilitate innovation and so enhance the competitiveness of games businesses throughout the UK.”

Charles Cecil, managing director, Revolution Software, said: "The UK has, over twenty five years, built a reputation as a global powerhouse for innovative games development. The advent of digital distribution has disrupted the traditional distribution methods, opening exciting opportunities for content creators to deliver their products to their audiences in innovative ways.

"Raise the Game is creating programmes to support developers to exploit their properties on a global level, work collaboratively with each other and with other entertainment mediums, and supporting young talent wishing to work in the games industry."

NESTA, CEO, Jonathan Kestenbaum said: " Raise the Game is seeking to provide a means by which the industry can work together and draw from the enormous amount of creative talent currently available. This new programme will be instrumental in fostering creativity and building relationships throughout the games industry and beyond to ensure the innovation and growthcapacities of UK companies are harnessed."

Ends 7 July 2008

Also speaking at the launch, will be Charles Cecil, Managing Director, Revolution Software; Adam Gee, New Media Commissioner, Factual, Channel 4; Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA; Paul Durrant, Director, Dare to be Digital and Jon Kingsbury, Director of Creative Economy Programme, NESTA.

*2007 Performance figures from ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association)

Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact:

Stacey Bell on tel: 0131 556 6649 or email: sbell@webershandwick.com.

NESTA

www.nesta.org.uk

NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology&the Arts. Our mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation. We do this in three main ways: by working to build a more pervasive culture of innovation in this country; by providing innovators with access to early stage capital; and by driving forward research into innovation, with a view to influencing policy.

TIGA

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.

Revolution Software

Founded in 1990, Revolution Software is Europe’s most successful developer of narrative-driven games. Responsible for writing a string of hugely-successful adventure games, including the Broken Sword games which have sold over three million copies worldwide and have earned over $100 million, the company has also developed games based on major TV and movie franchises for companies such as Disney, Dreamworks and Celedor. For more information please visit the Revolution Software website at http://www.revolution.co.uk.

Abertay University / Dare to be Digital

Abertay University was first to offer taught courses in software engineering for computer games development in the 1990s and is now the only UK

university with two Skillset accredited programmes in Computer Games Technology and Computer Arts. Abertay’s research and knowledge transfer

activities in this area are characterised by their proximity to market and their use of innovation technology which will be at the heart of preparing Dare to

be Digital participants for the Dare internships launched today. Abertay University also founded Dare to be Digital, the competition for prototype game

development that has become the exclusive pathway to a BAFTA Ones to Watch Award and now runs in five UK and Irish universities with international

participation from India and China, in association with Channel 4.

www.abertay.ac.uk / www.daretobedigital.com


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