After attending a recent lunch at the House of Commons, Richard Hill-Whittall has some doubts

Is the UK government really interested in games start-ups?

Today I attended a lunch at the House of Commons – it was a Tiga event called ‘Dynamic Entrepreneurs: Supporting Start-Ups in the UK Games Industry’, and hosted hosted by Tom Watson MP and Microsoft.

The event was a chance to speak to MPs and discuss the difficulties faced by start-up games studios, which in principal is a brilliant idea and a fantastic opportunity. Tiga is doing a stand-up job promoting the games industry in Parliament, but after today’s event I really do wonder if the government is actually interested!

First off it appeared as though several of the invited MPs didn’t turn up, given the name badges left on the table as we went through to lunch. Those that did turn up seemed far from interested – on the opposite side of the table a few seats up from me was an MP (who I shall leave nameless) who spent the entire time he was there looking incredibly fed-up and bored.

He really did look like he believed he had drawn the short straw, and he looked at his phone the entire time. Even the host, Tom Watson, was heavily involved with his phone and left during the first course.

A little while after Tom Watson left, the angry looking MP also left, leaving just one MP standing who diligently stayed until the end. My overriding impression was that the government, and indeed MPs from all parties, are particularly uninterested in game start-ups and indeed the industry as a whole.

If the MPs attending today’s event are anything to go by, it is little wonder tax breaks are getting no-where fast and very little positive comes out of Parliament for the UK games industry.

I am however very grateful to Tiga for planning the event and the hard work and effort they put into promoting the industry; it seems they have a very steep hill to climb!

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