The association formerly called ELSPA is expanding its remit to include the UK’s development workforce, in a move that positions the rechristened UKIE as a direct competitor to fellow developer association Tiga.
And director general Mike Rawlinson believes UKIE has an all-encompassing remit for the entire industry – from development to publishing to retail – which in itself makes it more attractive than Tiga.
Not mentioning Tiga by name, Rawlinson told Develop: “You mention the other organisation – they do represent another part of the industry, but they don’t represent much of it in total.
“I think too many people become fixated that it’s only us or them. But historically there are loads of companies that neither of us cover – and UKIE will in future cover them too.”
He added: “My job is to talk about what UKIE is doing, and at the end of the day the market will decide what it wants to do. I think we have a strong proposition to the whole interactive entertainment industry – a much broader world than the one we have been dealing with so far – to come together to present a collective, single voice to the government. So that’s what I’m doing.”
Tiga, led by Richard Wilson, has grown to over 160 members – including one of its most recent constituents Activision Blizzard.
And, precisely a week before UKIE launched under its new identity, Tiga announced it would launch individual membership for all Britons working in the game industry.
What Tiga does is up to them, says Rawlinson, but the point links back to one of the motivating factors for why ELSPA changed to UKIE in the first place.
“We live in a diminishing world – that’s not to say our older core members will disappear, but they will shrink and our ability to maintain the organisation on that business would be challenged if we didn’t change. Stakeholders, policymakers and the press want to talk ‘to the industry’ – but sometimes the area they want to talk to a group of people with no representation.”
Culture minister Ed Vaizey has since 2006 called for Tiga and ELSPA to merge, but said both industry associations had opposed the idea.
[Update: At last night’s UKIE launch, Rawinson spoke of Tiga in more conciliatory terms.
As quoted by a UKIE spokesperson, he said: "UKIE is currently working with Tiga to examine the value of tax breaks and other means of financially supporting the video games and interactive entertainment industry.
"We will continue to work with Tiga wherever appropriate. We will maintain an open and honest relationship with Tiga and would welcome the involvement of Tiga and its members in the work of UKIE.”]