Computer games industry– UK Government commitment welcomed by Abertay University

For immediate release: Tuesday 3 May

- Official response to Scottish Affairs Committee report published -

- Government“very pleased” with Prototype Fund at Abertay University -

The UK Government’s commitment to a thriving and internationally competitive computer games industry has been welcomed by the University of Abertay Dundee, a world-leader in creating skilled games graduates.

However, the university is disappointed that while the report mentions the cultural importance of the UK film industry– which is given as justification for its continued tax relief– the cultural importance of the computer games industry was not acknowledged.

In its official response to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee report on the computer games industry, the Government supported the“great opportunities” the“major global industry” of computer games offers to the UK economy.

The Government also praised the ongoing focus at Abertay University on working with businesses to give graduates industry-relevant skills, as well as saying it is“very pleased with progress” on the£5 million Prototype Fund run by Abertay University for investing in new creative companies.

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said:“There is absolutely no doubt that computer games is an industry of the future with huge growth potential, both for individual businesses and for the UK economy as a whole.

“We are very pleased to see the UK Government acknowledge the value of the games industry and the crucial need for highly skilled graduates, as well as praising the hard work by Abertay University to put industry skills and workplace simulation at the heart of everything we do.

“However, it is disappointing not to see the cultural importance of the games industry being accepted as equal to that of the film industry, particularly as the UK film industry benefits from tax relief because of this status.”

The original Scottish Affairs Committee report, which was launched at Abertay University in February this year, described Abertay as“a beacon of how successfully to equip graduates for work in the industry” and recommended it be used as a model for education across the UK.

Paul added:“Abertay University will continue to work with leading companies and the Government to ensure we produce graduates with the technical, business and team-working skills the games industry needs to grow and thrive.

“As we see huge new opportunities open up in social and mobile gaming, industry-ready graduates and initiatives such as our Prototype Fund for new, small businesses will become more and more important to a strong, sustainable UK economy.”

The Prototype Fund, which recently announced the first successful applicants for funding, also supports Abertay University’s commitment to industry skills by offering graduates from across the UK the opportunity to work on funded projects.

The Government’s response restates its ambition (as outlined in the Plan for Growth document released alongside the 2011 Budget) to make the UK a world-leader in the digital and creative industries.

(Ends)

For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Officer)– T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E: chris.wilson@abertay.ac.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

The full Government response is available as a PDF document at http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/Government_Response_to_the_Scottish_Affairs_Select_Committee_Cm_8067.pdf

The full Scottish Affairs Committee report can be accessed online at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmscotaf/500/50002.htm

Selected Abertay University mentions from the response:

36. Government welcomes the Committee’s positive views on the potential value of the work being carried out at Abertay University. <…> It is important to recognise that the prototyping fund being delivered by the University of Abertay is already nationwide as applications are invited from eligible games companies based anywhere in the UK.

37. Whilst it is relatively early days with Abertay’s games prototyping programme and far too soon to make an assessment of its effectiveness, we are very pleased with progress to date. Some 57 applications were submitted to the first call for proposals. The 6 projects selected for the first round of funding are now starting to get underway and are spread all around the UK, including in Dundee, Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle. We look forward to an equally strong response to the current and subsequent calls for proposals. This Government-supported programme is due to run on until 2013.

38. We are already starting to promote the University of Abertay’s approach to workplace simulation through the Government-funded prototype programme. Projects around the UK that are funded under the scheme will include the opportunity for talented students to work directly on the development of games prototypes.

Selected additional excerpts from the response:

3. The Government agrees with the Committee’s assessment that the video games sector has grown rapidly over a relatively short space of time to now represent a major global industry. The predicted strong annual growth rate of the world’s market for video games offers great opportunities for games businesses in the UK and for our future economy.

19. <…> the Plan for Growth set out Government’s ambitions for the UK to be a world leader in the creative industries– including video games– with specific actions to tackle major barriers to growth and create the right conditions for businesses to flourish.

31. Government agrees that the availability of appropriately skilled employees is a crucial issue for the UK video games industry, particularly if we are to pursue our aims of ensuring our games businesses are well-placed to exploit the fast-growing global market for interactive content.

35. Government would encourage the video games industry to engage with the Higher Education (HE) sector to ensure that their skill needs are effectively expressed. It’s important that the HE sector takes on board these issues to ensure that the graduates who emerge have the skills employers need.  


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