After games tax breaks loss, companies‘must work differently’ says ELSPA boss

For immediate release: Wednesday 4 August

Following the Government’s decision to pull tax breaks from the UK computer games industry, a leading industry figure has called for companies to“work differently” to ensure their survival.

Michael Rawlinson, Director General of ELSPA, believes that the traditional distinctions between developers and publishers are being blurred by the growth of digital content. To make money in this“brave new world”, he says companies must fully understand how to protect their intellectual property (IP).

Michael will outline his position, the challenges he sees for the future of the industry, and the new ways companies should be working at Digital Spark, a new conference being held in September at the University of Abertay Dundee.

The conference also features speeches from senior Sony and Nokia executives on protecting IP, beginners’ sessions for creative companies struggling to understand the complexities of copyright, and talks from a wide range of international legal experts.

Michael said:“The industry was extremely disappointed to see tax breaks pulled from under our feet. The Government is committed to rebalancing the economy, but without thriving creative industries the stability of the recovery from recession has to be in doubt.

“We all need to regroup after the tax breaks decision, and exciting initiatives like the new Digital Spark conference at Abertay University will really help. Bringing together developers, producers and legal experts under one roof is essential for small businesses to protect their position.”

He added:“The brave new world is looking increasingly challenging, but there are still many, many new opportunities being created by digital distribution. But without a strong grasp of controlling intellectual property, companies are putting at risk all their hard work.

“Last year NESTA’s Time to Play report identified tax breaks as an important step towards encouraging new business models and kick-starting original IP. The tax breaks may have gone for now, but the need to work differently, work more closely together, and work harder than ever remains.”

Michael will give the industry address to Digital Spark, Abertay University’s new intellectual property conference for creative companies being held on 1-2 September 2010. Some spaces are still available.

His talk is titled‘A Brave New World - Bridging the Divide between Developers and Publishers’ and follows a morning of introductory sessions for creative companies new to intellectual property.

Margaret Hartnett, conference organiser and IP Manager at Abertay University, said:“We all know that the games industry and other creative companies are facing enormous commercial challenges. Having worked as a European Patent Attorney, I’ve seen first-hand the difference proper IP management makes to companies needing to turn a profit to survive.

“Michael is absolutely right– the creative industries do need to work differently. By bringing together experts on content production, commercialisation and IP law, Digital Spark gives small businesses unique access to personal advice from some of the world’s leading experts. That level of insight is priceless for any business.”

Further information about Digital Spark– including online registration– is available at


For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Officer)– T: 01382 308935 M: 07837 250284 E:


In the knowledge economy, intangible assets can account for 70% of a company’s value. Digital Spark will explore how to use the intellectual property system efficiently and effectively– laying the ground for future profit generation.

With introductory mini-seminars on the basics of IP, interactive seminars with leading business and legal experts, and presentations from senior representatives of Nokia, Google, Sony and Realtime Worlds, Digital Spark will help creative and games companies plan for their future success.

Abertay University launched the world’s first ever computer games degree in 1997. This postgraduate Masters course was followed by a complementary undergraduate course, and later by specialist courses in production management and game applications development.

Further information about Digital Spark– including online registration– is available at


The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association represents all the major publishers of games in the UK. Founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the country’s interactive leisure software industry, membership includes companies publishing and distributing leisure software in the UK. As a gateway to Europe, ELSPA works to protect, promote and provide for the interests of all its members as well as addressing issues that affect the industry as a whole, such as age ratings, child safety and IP protection.

ELSPA works with members and media to illustrate the beneficial contributions that the UK videogames industry makes to the British economy as well as its influence in other industries. In addition, ELSPA works with GfK Chart-Track to compile weekly, monthly and annual retail charts and sales reports for the UK market.

Games PressGames Press is the leading online resource for games journalists. Used daily by magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online media and retailers worldwide, it offers a vast, constantly updated archive of press releases and assets, and is the simplest and most cost-effective way for PR professionals to reach the widest possible audience. Registration for the site and the Games Press email digest is available, to the trade only, at