TIGA – the network for games developers, digital publishers and games education and service providers – has outlined its new vision to grow employment in the games industry in the UK by nearly 30 per cent in the next four years.
Using calculations by Games Investor Consulting to measure the impact of TIGA’s “manifesto” proposals, the organisation believes “significant growth is possible” and has outlined plans on how it believes this growth can be achieved by working with the UK government.
Its plans include aspirations to launch 198 new studios between now and 2023, and grow sector staff from 14,350 to 18,300. It also hopes to see an expansion in the overall games company count from 992 to 1,200, and an increase in annual investment by games development companies from £818 million to over £1 billion.
The organisation is asking the government to retain and improve both Video Games Tax Relief (by increasing the rate of Relief to 27.5 or 30 per cent) and the Research and Development Tax Credits to “ensure that the UK has one of the most favourable tax regimes for the video games industry in the world”, as well as introduce a Video Games Investment Fund to provide pound for pound match funding, up to a maximum of £500,000, “for original IP game projects to improve games businesses’ ability to access finance”.
The trade body also asks parliament to maintain support for the UK Games Talent and Finance CIC in order to provide financial support of £25,000 for prototypes and for skills development, and “strengthen high technology video games clusters around the UK by improving infrastructure, reduced business rates, providing incubators and cementing industry-education links”, as well as advancing the scale and speed of full-fibre broadband to achieve nation-wide superfast internet coverage. “Wherever possible, the Government’s target for full-fibre broadband coverage by 2033 should be brought forward”, TIGA said.
There are also calls for the government to enable UK games companies to recruit highly skilled workers from the EU and the wider world by maintaining the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and introducing a fast-track 14 day SOL Visa. TIGA also requests that as the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union, it “avoid quotas, tariffs and other barriers to trade” and ensure any shortfall in funding caused by Brexit is addressed.
“A future UK-EU trade deal must ensure the free flow of personal data from the EU to the UK and vice versa so that UK games companies can continue to communicate easily with their EU consumers. Free trade in video games already exists and this should be maintained,” TIGA said.
In return, TIGA says it will “play its part in strengthening the UK video games industry by maintaining a strong, effective and reasonable voice for the video games industry in the media, government and political circles” and accredit “at least 40 UK video games degree courses” via its University Accreditation System. It will also provide data on the UK video games industry, and promote best practice, share knowledge, and celebrate success with its annual TIGA Games Industry Awards.
“The UK video games industry provides high skilled employment in high technology studios and exports content all over the world,” said Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and creative director at Rebellion. “The Parliament and Government that is elected on 12 December have an opportunity to back successful industries with potential, including the video games sector. Reinforcing successful sectors in expanding markets will help to grow exports, employment and investment.”
“TIGA’s 2019 General Election Manifesto sets out a clear, cogent and concise policy agenda for reinforcing our successful video games industry,” added Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO. “It is crucially important to support those industries where the UK already has a competitive advantage, which provide high skilled employment and which are export focused. The UK video games sector is one such industry. Our sector already has a critical mass of talent, with 14,350 skilled development staff employed in over 800 companies, supported by a world class higher education system.
“If we can provide a competitive tax regime, improve access to finance, and deepen our talent pool while retaining the ability to recruit highly skilled overseas workers, then the UK video games industry has the potential to grow significantly. We look forward to working with the new Parliament and Government that is elected on 12 December to advance our vision.”
For the organisation’s manifesto in full, head to the TIGA website.