Industry confronts Govt over disappointing Digital Britain report

The industry’s most notable faces met with Labour Ministers last week – to discuss games’ exclusion from a major Government report into ‘Britain’s online future’.

The Digital Britain report, headed up by Lord Stephen Carter, aims to ‘secure the UK’s digital future’, and maximise the country’s economic online potential.

However, the report – due to be published in June – has yet to mention video games.

In reaction, industry heavyweights such as ELSPA’s Michael Rawlinson, Eidos’ Ian Livingstone, Microsoft’s Stephen McGill, Sony’s Ray Maguire, EA’s Keith Ramsdale and Nintendo’s David Yarnton arranged to meet with Carter, and Ministers Barbara Follett and Andy Burnham last Thursday – with mixed results.

Lord Carter cancelled his planned attendance after being called away, whilst Burnham only visited the meeting for 20 minutes.

The panel discussed topics such as tax incentives, lack of skills in games graduates and the poor perception of games in the Government in a meet organised by the Games Up campaign.

It involved more earnest nodding than usual, but we’re sceptical as to whether that will translate into any action,” commented Livingstone.

To not be included in the Digital Britain report will be upsetting, but you can’t moan after the event if you’ve done nothing to stop it.

Over the years we’ve spoken to [MPs] Shaun Woodward, Patricia Hewitt, Tessa Jowell, James Purnell, Stephen Timms and more. A whole raft of Ministers have looked concerned and said: ‘Yep, you’re the future,’ – and then done nothing to help us.”

The panel – which also included Kuju’s Ian Baverstock, TIGA’s Richard Wilson, Games Investor’s Rick Gibson, Ubisoft’s Gareth Edmonson, Blitz’s Philip Oliver and development veteran Ian Hetherington – plan to meet with MPs again before the Digital Britain report is published, and are ‘very open’ to input from other industry execs.

To read Ian Livingstone’s full letter on the Tory Review – in response to Digitial Britain – click here.

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