Ukie hosted its second biennial Westminster Games Day in Parliament on Monday, in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Video Games, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Sega, EA and King. In attendance were over 24 MPs and peers and over 100 officials and researchers from Parliament, all of whom took part in a programme of activities designed to showcase the global success of the UK games industry and influence decision makers in Parliament about the needs of the sector.
The day opened with a breakfast roundtable in partnership with King, which focused on data. Chaired by Darren Jones MP, the session talked about the importance of data and the role it plays in driving UK app innovation, as well as how vital it is that data continues to flow between the UK and EU.
A lunchtime innovation session followed where MPs and peers were invited to a drop-in session at Portcullis House. In partnership with Sega and EA, the showcase featured the winners of the 2017 Student Games Jam from NFTS, Roll7, State of Play Games, UsTwo Games, Wibbu, Digital Schoolhouse and games charity SpecialEffect.
Next up was a panel discussion chaired by London's new chief digital officer Theo Blackwell. Panellists included leading figures from Sega, Ubisoft, Creative Assembly and Digital Schoolhouse, who all talked about the skills, education and talent landscape for the UK industry, as well as its approach to securing the UK's future as a leading light on the global stage and how government policy would support this.
Finally, Ukie's annual Westminster Games Reception took place at 8 Northumberland Avenue, where Digital Minister the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP delivered a keynote speech to an audience of over 200 MPs, Ukie members and key sector stakeholders.
A FORCE FOR GOOD
Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said: “It has never been more important than now for Ukie to be acting as a strong voice to Westminster and ramping up our policy and lobbying work. The high turnout of MPs, peers and Parliamentary officials across the day shows the recognition by Westminster that the UK games industry is a force for good in the UK’s economy, our digital and creative industries, and our cultural identities, and we’re proud to have been able to bring the best of the sector to Parliament for a day of education, lobbying and networking.”
Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock MP added that the industry was a "force for good," before going on to say, “The intersection of cutting edge technology and inspiring art is critical to Britain’s prosperity in the twenty-first century, and video games are right at the forefront of this, driving innovation and bringing together the best creative and technical minds. We are committed to supporting the UK games industry and will continue to work with Ukie to guarantee that video games remain a major economic and cultural force.”
Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health and Co-Chair of the Video Games APPG, commented: “The UK games industry is one of the most inspiring, creative, and cutting-edge sectors in the economy. It is an industry that offers so much potential to create growth and skilled jobs all across the country.
“Westminster Games Day this year brought that industry to the heart of Parliament for us to hear directly from them about the challenges and opportunities they face, raising some big issues around skills, talent and immigration, Brexit, Data and innovation. It was a great day and a hugely successful way for the industry to raise its profile in Parliament and beyond.”