Nevertheless, to ensure maximum influence of our policy agenda we decided that the best possible approach was to communicate our messages to all three parties. At the time we were a little concerned that our strategy meant that we were spreading our resources and messages too thinly.
However, this has proved to be rather prudent as we have now been assured that regardless of the colour (or colours) of our new Government, our next Minister will be up to speed regarding the video games industry well before his civil service briefing paper arrives.
With this in mind we very much hope to see early progress on our policy agenda including the implementation of PEGI, the beginning of the consultation into tax breaks, exploration into the viability of a ‘games council’ and support for our skills agenda via StemNet and SkillSet.
Sticking with Parliamentary issues for a moment, I’m sure you are aware that, as part of the Digital Economy Act, provision has been made to allow PEGI to become the legal system for classifying games in the UK.
Once appointed, the new Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will need to ask Parliament to approve his choice of ratings body (‘The Video Standards Council’), and alter the packaging and labelling regulations accordingly.
These approvals will take a little while so we are not expecting PEGI to become the sole classifier for video games in the UK until the autumn at the earliest. As soon as we have firm information, we will update you accordingly.
This will also mean big changes for consumers. We are therefore already developing a campaign to educate the public about the changes to the law and what the PEGI symbols actually mean. To ensure the maximum impact of this campaign, we are creating a working group of the great and the good from our industry. Therefore if you have an interest in this area, please do get in contact.
As you will read on the page opposite, we are delighted to be supporting London Games Festival again this year at which events will run throughout the month of October. ELSPA is employing Kirsty Payne as a consultant to drive participation in the festival and ensure that public-facing PR is co-ordinated as we approach and lead into the festival.
Alongside the exciting consumer events that are already planned and in discussion, we will be using the festival as an opportunity to showcase our industry, our creativity and cutting edge technological developments to policy makers and Parliamentarians.
With the launch of Natal already lined up for October and Sony’s Move likely not to be far behind, we are in a great position to demonstrate the economic and cultural value interactive entertainment can bring to this country.
These events are a great opportunity for you to build a relationship with your local MP, so do think about how you can get involved, what products or events you might like to showcase and how we can help your company make the most of the festival.
On a final note, many of you will probably have seen our advertisements for two new positions; a commercial manager and a public affairs and communications manager. We had a great response and interviews are taking place right now. This investment in the association’s team is a vital part of our future plans for UKIE to ensure that we have the scope and capacity to deliver a first class service to our members and the industry.
As part of this drive the development of our vision, together with our re-branding is well under way and on course for a late summer launch.
I look forward to seeing you then – by which time, I hope, the UK economic and political climate will be considerably more settled.