TIGA, the network for games developers, digital publishers and games education and service providers, has today set out a vision for how the UK can grow employment in the games industry by nearly 30 per cent by 2023.
TIGA’s ambition is for the UK video games industry to continue to grow strongly over the next four years. Calculations by Games Investor Consulting measuring the impact of TIGA’s Manifesto proposals show that significant growth is possible. Their aim is to achieve the following growth by 2023:
- employment in the sector to grow from 14,350 to 18,300 development staff;
- studio numbers to grow from 812 to 1,000;
- an expansion in the overall games company count (including development studios, publishers and service providers) from 992 to 1,200;
- an increase in annual investment by games development companies from £818 million to over £1 billion;
- an increase in GDP contribution from £1.8 billion to £2.3 billion per annum; and
- for 40 UK games courses to achieve TIGA University Accreditation.
TIGA aims to achieve this vision by working with the Government and Parliament to adopt its manifesto proposals.
Unlocking the Next Level: Growing the UK Games Industry. TIGA’s Manifesto Proposals for the 2019 General Election:
- Retain and improve both Video Games Tax Relief (by increasing the rate of Relief to 27.5 or 30 per cent) and Research and Development Tax Credits to ensure that the UK has one of the most favourable tax regimes for the video games industry in the world.
- Introduce a Video Games Investment Fund to provide pound for pound match funding, up to a maximum of £500,000, for original IP game projects to improve games businesses’ ability to access finance.
- Maintain support for the UK Games Talent and Finance CIC in order to provide financial support of £25,000 for prototypes and for skills development.
- Enable UK games companies to recruit highly skilled workers (Tier 1 and Tier 2 workers) from the EU and the wider world by: (a) maintaining the Shortage Occupation List (SOL); (b) introducing a fast-track 14 day SOL Visa; (c) refraining from increasing the Tier 2 salary threshold to £30,000; and (d) providing that the top three criteria under a future points based migration system are ‘work experience’, ‘having a job offer’ and ‘language proficiency’.
- When negotiating a UK-EU trade deal, avoid quotas, tariffs and other barriers to trade. A future UK-EU trade deal must ensure the free flow of personal data from the EU to the UK and vice versa so that UK games companies can continue to communicate easily with their EU consumers. Free trade in video games already exists and this should be maintained.
- Strengthen high technology video games clusters around the UK, for example, by improving infrastructure, internet speeds, reduced business rates, providing incubators and cementing industry-education links.
- Encourage skills and training by: reforming the Apprenticeship Levy into a Training Levy, thereby enabling employers to invest in any high quality training programme and not just apprenticeships; and introducing a Skills Investment Fund to provide pound for pound match funding.
- Strengthen higher education by making up any short-fall in funding following the UK’s departure from the EU and by ensuring that any new visa system governing migration from the EU does not impair the ability of UK universities to recruit either academic staff or students from the EU. Ensure there are no barriers to research collaborations and funding opportunities following a departure from the EU.
- Ensure that the proposed regulatory framework set out in the Online Harms White Paper, which includes plans to establish a new statutory ‘Duty of Care’ to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of their users, protects online users whilst ensuring that the UK is the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business. Any new regulations should be proportionate in nature.
- Advancing the scale and speed of full fibre broadband to achieve nation-wide superfast internet coverage. Wherever possible, the Government’s target for full fibre broadband coverage by 2033 should be brought forward. Comprehensive 5G coverage is also required to ensure UK businesses have the internet access they need to remain competitive in the digital world.
TIGA will play its part in strengthening the UK video games industry by:
- maintaining a strong, effective and reasonable voice for the video games industry in the media, government and political circles;
- accrediting at least 40 UK video games degree courses via TIGA’s effective and efficient University Accreditation System to ensure that universities and colleges produce graduates with industry relevant skills and to promote best practice in higher education for games;
- enhancing industry-academia links and knowledge sharing with respect to educational and skills requirements for the sector.
- promoting the TIGA STAR system to identify excellent employers and to promote best practice in the video games industry;
- providing an authoritative source of data on the state of the UK video games industry; and,
- promoting best practice, sharing knowledge and celebrating success by delivering the annual TIGA Games Industry Awards and by publishing practical business guides for the industry.
CEO of TIGA, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, said:
“TIGA’s 2019 General Election Manifesto sets out a clear, cogent and concise policy agenda for reinforcing our successful video games industry.
“It is crucially important to support those industries where the UK already has a competitive advantage, which provide high skilled employment, and which are export focused. The UK video games sector is one such industry. Our sector already has a critical mass of talent, with 14,350 skilled development staff employed in over 800 companies, supported by a world class higher education system.
“If we can provide a competitive tax regime, improve access to finance, and deepen our talent pool while retaining the ability to recruit highly skilled overseas workers, then the UK video games industry has the potential to grow significantly. We look forward to working with the new Parliament and Government that is elected on 12 December to advance our vision.”
Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said:
“The UK video games industry provides high skilled employment in high technology studios and exports content all over the world. The Parliament and Government that is elected on 12 December have an opportunity to back successful industries with potential, including the video games sector. Reinforcing successful sectors in expanding markets will help to grow exports, employment and investment.”
TIGA are asking those who share their vision, support this Manifesto and want to make it a reality, to contact Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, to discuss joining TIGA and/or sponsoring their campaign (firstname.lastname@example.org).