October 28, 2009
TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and senior figures from Scotland's video games industry today called on the Scottish Government to support the video games sector in Scotland, calling it one of Scotlands key knowledge industries.
The comments were made at the TIGA/NESTA Scotland In Focus event at Holyrood, hosted by Joe Fitzpatrick, MSP for Dundee West, and included speeches from key industry figures and a panel discussion. Speakers included Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO; Jackie McKenzie, NESTA, Head of Innovation Programmes Scotland; Colin Macdonald, Studio Manager, Realtime Worlds; Colin Anderson, MD, Denki; Jeff Meek, Head of Technology and Media, French Duncan and Paul Durrant from Abertay University/Dare to be Digital. The event was chaired by Blair Jenkins and sponsored by French Duncan.
Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO stated: The Scottish development sector has a combined current turnover of approximately 20m and employs over 700 highly skilled, creative and talented staff. Dundee is the epicenter for the industry in Scotland. However there are also important games companies located across the country, including Edinburgh, Fife and Perthshire.
This highly successful and growing economic sector has great potential. Yet it faces serious challenges: skills shortages, a brain drain of talented staff to development businesses overseas, and a competitive environment characterised by overseas governments giving substantial assistance to their games industries - typically in the form of tax breaks for games production - which puts Scottish developers in particular and the UK games industry in general at a serious competitive disadvantage.
TIGA, NESTA and industry figures called for the Government to support the video games sector in three specific areas:
1. Support a UK wide Games Tax Relief for games production (as outlined by TIGAs report Investing In the Future which was submitted to Government in August 2009) <1>
2. Better promotion of the Scottish games industry as one of the countrys most exciting and promising sectors
3. More and effective investment in education at all levels to safeguard this industry for the future
Colin Macdonald, Studio Manager at Realtime Worlds stated: "TIGA has been working hard to raise the profile of the industry in the UK and this is the first time we as an industry in Scotland have joined forces to approach Government in this way.
Intense international competition means that we now need the Government to step up to the plate and back our industry. We are not looking for hand outs, we just want a more level playing field to ensure our industry can survive in Scotland".
Jeff Meek, Head of Technology and Media at chartered accountants and business advisory firm French Duncan and TIGA treasurer stated: The video games industry in Scotland is knowledge intensive and extremely vibrant. Fiscal reform in theform of a Games Tax Relief must go hand in hand with better promotion of Scotland as a good place to live and work, and long term investment in skills and education. The global marketplace is highly competitive and we must fight hard to ensure we safeguard high-tech industries which create the jobs and skills which will drive Scotlands long term economic growth.
Jackie McKenzie, Head of Innovation Programmes Scotland for NESTA added: At NESTA we know the importance of supporting industries that create original IP, drive up skills in crucial areas such as technology and science and create jobs. The video games industry can inspire future generations and help build Scotlands knowledge economy. However international competition is fierce and without Government support there is a real risk we will loose this industry and the benefits that it brings to our economy.
French Duncan, an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisors, headquartered in Scotland, are sponsors of Scotland InFocus. French Duncan has long been a partner of TIGA, with Jeff Meek, Head of Technology and Media at the firms Edinburgh branch also acting as TIGA treasurer.
For more information on this event visit www.tiga.org.