A nationwide jobs board for UK games developers, a cross-sector forum for collaboration with other entertainment industries, and a radical new service that allows UK studios to share their employees.
It’s all part of a new scheme outlined by games industry group Tiga and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), set to fully launch in July.
Called the Play Together initiative, both Tiga and NESTA beieve the new plans will help strengthen the UK games business in the face of a UK Government that is widely considered to be largely uncooperative with the industry.
According to Tiga and NESTA, Play Together’s proposals were established after receiving feedback from the videogame industry, whereby a skill shortage was outlined as a central concern.
Tiga-NESTA hope the Play Together initiatives will “promote innovation within the games industry, help videogame developers maximise efficiency, potentially avoid redundancies or costly outsourcing, and compete more effectively in the global market.”
Play Together’s key plan is a radical new service that enables UK developers to share employees.
Available staff can be swapped with other UK studios on a flexible basis, thus allowing developers to quickly upsize or downscale their teams – a common challenge in the development community – using local area or national talent.
Another proposal, termed the ‘Creative Industry Switch’, will establish a national forum where developers can collaborate with creatives from other industries, such as TV, film, music and animation.
Tiga and NESTA also want to enable UK developers and suppliers to work more tightly together, as well as provide a service where academics and professionals are given better information on education courses and opportunities for industry-university collaboration.
Finally, the venture seeks to create a nationwide jobs board, where game groups and associated businesses can promote current vacancies.
“The UK video games industry competes successfully in a global market place on the basis of a creative, flexible and highly skilled workforce,” said Tiga CEO Richard Wilson.
“However, we face a unique set of challenges: skills shortages, high recruitment costs, an unfavourable tax regime and limited availability of finance, all against a backdrop of a global recession and a relatively tight credit market."
"Tiga is working with NESTA to promote innovation and greater collaboration within the games industry as a means to overcoming some of these hurdles.”
“The Play Together initiatives will help to cut recruitment costs, reduce skill shortages, promote collaboration and knowledge sharing within the games industry and with other creative sectors, and strengthen industry-academia links.
"These innovative approaches will reduce business costs and encourage innovation and so enable the UK games industry to remain at the forefront of what is currently one of our most successful creative sectors.”
Jon Kingsbury, creative programme director at NESTA, said that the UK games industry is “one of the shining lights of digital Britain."
"We want to foster this creativity and help the industry become even more successful in the future," he added. " What is clear is that innovation in all aspects of the business process is essential if Britain’s creative industries are going to remain competitive in the global market.”
Wilson continued to call on the Government to provide more support for the UK games industry.
Recently the industry has seen early signs of a change of heart from Brown’s cabinet, with the reshuffled Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw suggesting that he is considering "further support" for the industry.
Meanwhile, Westminster has also established the first ever All Party Parliamentary Group for the Computer and Video Games Industry.