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UK games industry needs more government support

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 18 Mar 2005 3:06 User comments (1)

UK games industry needs more government support The UK games industry is looking very healthy but needs more support from the government according to Screen Digest. More games are being sold overseas than in the UK which obviously is an excellent sign for the economy. This means that in the UK the interactive entertainment industry is financially doing better than the television and film industries. The rising cost of making the games is sending talent overseas from the UK. The games industry employed 7.5% more people than in 2000, but the number of actual developers fell by 6% leaving the gain in mostly publishing, distribution, and retail jobs.
Roger Bennett, director general of Elspa (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) said the financial success was a "marvellous achievement" but the industry needs more government support to remain this healthy. "Our greatest asset is our creativity and in recent times we have seen this talent being leeched away through lack of funding and more attractive prospects overseas," he said. He claims the UK is in danger of losing its position as the source of global blockbuster titles.

The cost of developing the games has already caused many studios to completely shut down. One of the largest and oldest independent games developers in the UK, Argonaut which is responsible for the Harry Potter games, went into administration after a severe cash crisis in October. The global games market is worth some $28bn (14.5bn). Gamers spent more than 1.34bn in 2004, with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the biggest seller. The UK-developed game managed to sell over 1 million copies in just nine days.

"It is now time for government to recognise the valuable contribution we make to the UK economy, comparative to other entertainment sectors," said Mr Bennett. Draft government legislation announced last year proposed tax relief to fund 20% of production costs for UK films with budgets of up to 20m but Gordon Brown said in Wednesday's budget he would extend this and introduce tax relief to benefit both low and high budget UK films.

It is now more vital that the UK government realises it is neglecting the games industry as the next generation of gaming consoles become available. Also it has to be taken into account that more people would like to purchase games from other places beside an actual games store, like online for example. "Mobile and online have become significant markets in their own right and we expect all forms of networked games exploitation to account for 20% of the total Western world market by 2008," said Ben Keen, an analyst for Screen Digest.

BBC News

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1 user comment

122.3.2005 7:48

Why does big business need government support? I say they live or die at their own poor business models. THis goes for the US as well as other countries companies. The way I see it is Government subsidies are just the public supporting (by their taxes) a business without their approval. If they (BIG BUSINESS) can't get our money one way the go after it another that is how I see it.

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