The Independent Game Developers Association (TIGA) – a trade association representing the UK video games industry – has submitted its recommendations to the UK Chancellor ahead of the budget.
In correspondence to Rishi Sunak MP, TIGA has again called for the government to introduce a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF), “which would provide smaller developers with the finance to grow and improve productivity” by making loans or grants available to developers “on a matched funding basis, which would, in turn, provide funding of between £75,000 and £500,000 to games developers nationwide”.
It also recommends Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) is “retained and improved”, particularly in light of the UK’s departure from the EU.
“Since its introduction in 2014, a total of 480 video games productions have claimed VGTR, accounting for over £1 billion of UK expenditure,” TIGA said. “TIGA research shows that an increase in the rate of relief to 27.5 or 30 per cent would help support significant growth in the UK games industry, increasing employment, innovation and investment and therefore enabling it to compete on a more level digital playing field with overseas competitors.”
“The UK video games industry is a high skills, high technology and export focused industry. Our sector has the potential to support employment and growth throughout the UK, with clusters of games development from Brighton to Dundee and 80 per cent of the workforce based outside of London,” said Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA.
“Access to finance remains the most common challenge for many video games businesses. This is why, ahead of the March 2020 Budget, TIGA has called for the Government to examine the case for a Video Games Investment Fund to support the long-term growth of the video games industry. This initiative, alongside the retention of Video Games Tax Relief, would allow the continued success and growth of the tech industry for years to come.”
TIGA also recently revealed a new report which collates the experiences of several games companies during company acquisitions and its 5 Principles for Safeguarding Players. The organiser says it devised the principles for “games businesses to follow when operating games in the UK, in order to safeguard players from potential harms” and says they have been designed “to be proportionate, reflecting the fact that a large multimillion pound games business operating a widely used online game will be able to do much more than a small business operating a niche game”.
TIGA’s 5 Principles for Safeguarding Players are themed around protecting children, treating consumers fairly, safeguarding online communities, respecting personal data, and spending and time management.