Significance of the UK gaming industry recognised by the government

The UK is looking to reward its talent in the gaming industry, with grants up for grabs. 

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The UK is looking to reward its talent in the gaming industry, with grants up for grabs. 

The UK gaming industry is currently enjoying something of a boom and it’s looking like a trend that is set to continue with the news announced in July’s budget that the government has set aside £4 million to invest in individuals, small businesses and start-ups involved in the gaming industry.

Software development is becoming an increasingly important part of the UK’s economy and is currently believed to worth approximately £1.72 billion, a figure that has more than doubled since the last estimates made by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2012. Over 19,000 people are directly employed in the gaming industry which contributes over £4 million a day to the British economy. It is easy to see why the government are keen to invest in technology, despite a popular belief that technological advances will eventually render many traditional jobs obsolete.

The government investment plans include grants of up to £25,000, which are targeted at small gaming businesses, with the aim of helping them to create working prototype games. Up to £50,000 is available for a limited number of firms that are ready to take their prototypes to the next level. The decisions concerning the grant will be made at offices located in London and Dundee until 2019. Some of the government money will be used to establish talent development initiatives such as competitions to identify and encourage the most talented graduates and students.

The UK Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy recently explained that it is vital for Britain’s gaming industry to continue to punch well above its weight on a global scale and that investment in creativity is needed so that future gaming blockbusters can be made. Individuals and SMEs with creativity, imagination and flair and will now be able to access the money needed to harness their ideas. All these measures are conducive to future success. The message from the current government is clear: talent and innovation in the gaming industry will be recognised and encouraged.

The Video Games Prototype Fund is the direct successor of the Abertay Fund, which was established to help small businesses between 2010 and 2014. This incentive has had a positive effect on many young software entrepreneurs, such as Blazing Griffin, a Scottish company that used the capital to expand from a group of three individuals to a group of thriving companies with offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Other measures the government have brought in to encourage software developers are tax breaks in 2014, meaning that the production costs of a game can be reduced by as much as 25 percent.

The proposed economic development of the gaming industry is reminiscent of its encouragement of the gambling sector in the last decade. When casino regulations were relaxed by the Labour government, it became far easier for ordinary people to participate in gambling activities, whether online or in a licensed venue. Plenty of new operator and aggregator platforms such as have been launched in the last couple of years. Since 2005, the sector’s fortunes have vastly improved. The gambling industry is a similarly non-traditional sector that is a significant contributor to the nation’s wealth. The government will be hoping that its encouragement of the gaming industry will lead to a success similar to that experienced by the casino gambling industry.

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