Could the cut-backs that have meant no post-meeting booze for the DTI Games Forum and no job for John Kroeger really mean that a new era has already kicked in?
Possibly. But don’t think that it’s us lot that are being singled out here.
Government has been impressed by the efficiency, honesty and ambition of our trade bodies over the past few years, and has a much greater understanding of our industry for it.
That doesn’t count for much when, as Kroeger puts it, “the DTI as an institution has been thoroughly bombarded by shrinkage”. And when it gets to the drinks trolley, you know something is up. Savings must be made.
But, in truth, some of the projects set up after the DTI’s sudden discovery of the games industry, such as the Games Forum meetings, have meandered. As interesting as they were, if you haven’t been, you haven’t missed much.
More importantly, the industry is now recognised by the relevant parts of the Government. We have enough representation amongst the likes of Shaun Woodward’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to sleep safely in our beds without fearing knee-jerk legislation forced through by barmy MPs or Daily Mail bloodlust.
The Government is now more than happy for developers, publishers and retailers to continue selling their fair proportion of adult content just like movies, video or music. Yes, really.
Oh, and the VAT on £2 billion a year in unit sales and the corporation tax paid by games businesses helps a wee bit too…
The games industry’s commercial health is one of the reasons Labour fell in love with us in the first place. And there’s no reason why that should change just because there is a new leader or change of administration.
Government budgets go in and out like the tide, and as we begin the wait for departmental investment to roll back in again, the best thing the industry can do is continue to fund the likes of ELSPA and TIGA.
These are the guys that will always be on your side, whatever the mood and whoever is pulling the strings in Whitehall.