Regional networking body begins recovery plan as public funds dry up

Game Republic ‘will seek industry funding’

Game Republic said today it is in talks with the games industry to help secure its future – as the network told Develop its public funding will run dry on March 31st.

The group’s sector manager, Jamie Sefton, says he is in talks with the region’s games companies, and says there are “encouraging signs” that Game Republic can still live as a privately-funded organisation.

“Even though we’ve been hit by a consultation process, I’m positive something will come of this,” said Sefton.

Earlier Screen Yorkshire announced it is “entering a consultation process with a number of staff regarding the future of their posts”, following the Coalition Government’s decision to cut funding.

A spokesperson for Screen Yorkshire confirmed to Develop earlier today that it is the sole funder of Game Republic, and as such, is considering the group’s future.

But Sefton said the Game Republic will not go down without a fight.

“We have hope things will turn out well," he said.

"There is a long way to go in talks with the games industry, but I’m certainly not standing still, I’m trying to secure Game Republic’s future.”

He said the threat closure “is still here”, and confirmed that the planned escape will come through private funding and sponsorship.

“A lot of games companies are immensely proud of game republic, and it’s their baby basically,” Sefton added.

“The great thing about Game Republic is that we engage with the games companies. We talk to them daily, we get feedback, and we actually find out what they want. There’s no point in working in a vacuum.

“At the moment it’s tough for us, but Game Republic came from the games industry itself, and I’m positive that something will come out of this. I’m going to work hard with Screen Yorkshire to make sure something does happen.”

Game Republic is an industry-led games network for the Yorkshire and Humber region.

It has provided funding and support for a number of studios in the area.

It helped finance Revolution Software’s Broken Sword handheld project (a game which hit the top of the App Store charts), as well as invest in other nearby studios.

Game Republic has organised its own networking events, such as last year’s well-received State Of Independence conference, which had been attended last year by Culture Department minister Ed Vaizey, and part sponsored by chipmaker giant Intel.

Game Republic also helped bring the Eurogamer Expo to Leeds, Sefton said.

Studios within Game Republic’s remit include Rockstar Leeds, Sumo Digital, Team17, Tuna and Revolution Software.

Screen Yorkshire is funded by the Yorkshire Forward, a Regional Development Agency.

Last year the Coalition Government said it would be scrapping, or replacing, Regional Development Agencies.

The government says this is primarily due to its ongoing focus on reducing the deficit, and not for party ideological reasons.

[Develop’s guide to how RDA cuts may affect the UK games industry can be found here]

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