The journey to finally get the tax production credits scheme in place for the games industry has been a long and sometimes rocky one.
But this week, the industry had confirmation from the European Commission that, after a year of investigating whether there truly was a market failure for games made in the UK, by UK residents, with a British or European flavour.
We worked extremely closely as the go between for games businesses of all sizes, from the tiniest to the largest, across the UK, with members and non-members, and government throughout the process.
We were very clear on several points which were really to reflect the unique nature of our industry, but also inclusivity. Our industry is highly visual but also highly technical and creative, and we are leaders in innovative business models across different platforms. Our games do not just end with the final product – they live on through extra content, DLC and new features.
We pushed for the scheme to allow for claims to be made against this model.
Games are made with varying budget levels too and we pushed for the UK scheme to be more inclusive than the French one which has a minimum budget threshold of 150,000 euros before you are eligible to apply for the credit. This just did not make sense to us looking at the modern games industry in the UK in all its mixed economic diversity.
We also suggested some changes to the cultural test (administered by games experts in the BFI) which games have to pass in order to be eligible. Some games are set in fantasy locations, or no location, and many don’t have human characters. The cultural test for film awards points if your film is set in Yorkshire, for instance, as opposed to the Yucatan, but we thought this did not reflect the modern industry once more.
Importantly, this scheme will allow more games businesses in the country to take more creative risks, there will hopefully be more games on the market, and it will encourage more businesses outside of the UK to look at the favourable ecosystem that is growing up in this country and think about creating jobs here.
After all we are the most creative nation in the world, with a rapidly diversifying audience of players hungry for our experiences, with an increasingly welcoming business environment and a new generation beginning to understand that their favourite hobby can be their dream career.
But the game is not over yet. Trade bodies like to think beyond single issues, and there are many more ways we can help nurture the ecosystem to be sustainable.
Our focus at Ukie in the coming year will be on getting the games sector the recognition it deserves so we can be not just a leading part of the powerhouse of creative and digital industries in the UK, but internationally too.
That means being one step ahead in protecting us from unnecessary regulation whilst promoting responsibility; making sure businesses have the right skills and talent flow; and to ensure we stand loud and proud on the global stage and promote the enormous creativity, opportunity and innovation we offer to the world.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget announcement said that we would not have a secure economic future if Britain did not "earn its way" in the world. He wants all UK businesses to earn more, build more, invest more, and manufacture more. We are a nation of makers and doers and we will do just that. We are the present and future of entertainment, the new digital manufacturing, and we are well on our way to making the UK the best place in the world to make and sell games.