Collaboration can secure future of Britain's games industry

‘UK devs should unite for greater good’ – Jagex

Jagex’s Mark Gerhard has called for UK studios to work closer together to make the nation a world leader in game development once again.

In an interview with Develop Gerhard, head of the UK’s largest studio, said companies should share tools, technology and other knowledge.

“I firmly believe that the future of games development in the UK can be secured through increased collaboration,” said the CEO of the RuneScape company.

“Very few UK developers are direct competitors, fighting for the same users or creating games in the same genre. To remain competitive we need to take the lead, and share our tools and our technologies so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel every time someone makes a new game.”

Gerhard went on to suggest that everyone involved with game development in the United Kingdom has a duty to pursue collaboration to prevent UK talent from moving overseas.

“It is important to stress that it’s not all doom and gloom and I don’t think we should all pack up and leave the UK,” he added.

“But there are major challenges ahead. I see increased competition, uncompetitive tax systems and a diminishing talent pool as the three biggest threats facing the UK developers."

The Jagex CEO said he believes overseas studios’ ability to create games cheaply serves to threaten the UK industry. He also expressed concern that some studios in Britain demonstrate a lack of agility with regard to reacting to the shift in focus away from traditional distribution.

“While I expect more studios will close, the UK remains a fantastic hub of talent and we need to take steps to protect this,” he said.

“Britain has a long-standing reputation for making some of the greatest games and we must continue to create unique, creative and world beating IP to secure a
brighter future.”

He added: “Jagex is proud to be British. We are British through and through, and we hope that the UK development scene can quickly return to growth.”

In recent months Jagex has been very public in moving to seek to employ those who lost their jobs to the troubles affecting studios such as Bizarre in Liverpool; a move Gerhard sees as vital to protecting the UK development industry.

“With more and more studio closures, we need to ensure that we are providing the best opportunities for those looking to work in the sector so that the UK doesn’t become a brain drain of development talent,” stated Gerhard.

“If we can overcome these challenges Britain can become a world leading development nation once again."

Gerhard concluded by confirming that he is ‘hugely confident’ about Jagex’s future: “We are in a strong position and have ambitious plans for 2011 which include expanding our games catalogue, not only with our own games but with the addition of some very exciting new IPs as well.”

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