Woodward renews call for ‘games academy’

Ben Parfitt
A government report on the state of Britain’s creative industries has highlighted the importance of the games sector to the UK economy, while calling for a ‘games academy’ to attract the talent the UK needs to maintain its success.

The report, Staying Ahead: The Economic Performance of the UK’s Creative Industries, was commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell (pictured above right) and Minister of State for Industry and the Regions Margaret Hodge (pictured right) presented the report this week to journalists, key members of the industry and Government policy-makers.

Woodward spoke specifically of the importance of the UK’s video game industry, while warning of the dangers of becoming complacent. “The importance of the creative industries has not yet received the recognition it should have done,” he said.

“Video games have become an incredibly important industry, but our superiority in this sector cannot be taken for granted. In the last six months the UK has slipped from the third largest manufacturer to the fourth – behind Canada. We need a games academy for graduate studies. We need to attract the right talent and fund and support the industry.”

Woodward went on to talk about copyright and the need to find a better framework for IP ownership as well as warn of the lack of business skills and capabilities across the wider creative industries.

The paper, put together by the Work Foundation, identified the UK as having the largest games development community in Europe, and that in 2004 it made a positive contribution to the UK trade balance of £280 million.

It also outlined a number of issues facing the industry, such as the threat of digital retail models, the need for business and project management skills in games development, the importance of targeting a wider cross section of consumers, and the danger of incentive schemes by foreign Governments draining talent away from the UK.

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Tags: government , woodward

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