UK games development industry trade association Tiga has joined with the European Games Developer Federation to express concern over new EU funding programmes for media and culture and for research and innovation for 2013 – 2020.
Both parties involved in the loose union have said that the programmes fail to place sufficient emphasis on the video games development sector.
‘Video game development can engender new business models, create innovative content and drive groundbreaking technological discoveries with positive spillover effects for other sectors,’ Tiga has said.
‘Game development also provides high skilled employment in an export oriented industry. However, Horizon 2020, the new EU programme for research and innovation, is making only minor changes in order to make the programme more accessible for small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the digital market.’
Tiga CEO Dr Richard Wilson picked up the point, saying: “Game developers are typically high-tech SMEs, yet very few of them qualify for EU support. European game developers compete globally against highly subsidised competitors.”
“It is time for EU policy makers to power our high technology, highly skilled, export focused industry forward and embrace the digital era.”
Tiga and the EGDF have laid out a series of recommendations for video games sector support, including:
* A new definition of innovation including innovations related to content, services, and business models.
* An SME-quota for EU RTD projects so that at least 50% of the funding goes to SMEs;
* Balanced EU funding schemes for SMEs between loan guarantees and prototype development / IP creation funding;
* A threshold, for example, by placing the maximum EU contribution per project to about five million euros; and
* Direct and concrete support and consultation for SMEs, for example by using a network of Media Desks throughout Europe.
Tiga and the EGDF also called for reforms to the Creative Europe programme, including:
* Measures to secure a strong variety of content that reflects the cultural values and traditions of member states;
* An independent pillar for video games in the programme; and
* A substantial game prototype development / IP creation support scheme in the programme.