Government grants will be available to small gaming firms to give them the boost they need to create the next blockbusting games to conquer the global market.
Right now, the UK’s gaming industry is enjoying something of a boom. In fact, the video games industry is thought to be worth around £1.72 billion, a number double that of the 2011/12 estimates made by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The UK hosts the fourth largest domestic games market in the world. It’s currently home to around 2,000 games businesses and, between 2011 and 2013, the number of new companies jumped by 22 per cent. Many argue that these government figures are modest and that in truth the UK’s gaming industry has a far larger economic and employment footprint, which is underpinned by a well-developed distribution network, a steady source of talent emerging from universities and a business culture that’s conducive to innovation and creativity.
This is all good news, and it seems that for the small businesses that represent the industry’s backbone, there’s an extra piece of welcome news. The government has recently announced it is distributing £4 million to small gaming firms in order to give them the boost they need to create the next blockbusting games to conquer the global market. Originally announced as part of the July 2015 Budget, the cash will come from the Video Games Prototype Fund. Grants worth up to £25,000 will be awarded for the creation of prototype games, and grants worth up to £50,000 will be given to help a limited number of SMEs take games beyond the earlier phases.
In addition to this, the money will be used to fund a number of talent development initiatives. These will see competitions designed specifically to identify the most promising students and graduates. Additionally, small businesses and entrepreneurial individuals will be able to tap into the investment money in order to design, build and showcase their most radical and creative gaming ideas.
All this makes it clear that the government sees the gaming industry as a key area for investment, and an important player when it comes to the country’s current and future economic success. Nurturing those individuals and start-ups able to capitalise on the industry’s potential is very important. The developments currently taking place across the UK’s gaming industry echo those of the online casino gaming industry, which has gone from strength to strength since the relaxation of core gambling legislation in 2005.
Since the changes were introduced, the average person on the street has found it far easier to give gambling a go both online and in the real world. In turn, that sector has contributed significantly to the economy, both through revenues raised and through the people it employs.
It’s still early days and nobody can predict for sure how the government’s latest investment will impact the gaming industry. However, it’s likely that it will boost both employment and the number of start-ups in the sector over the coming years. It’s possible the money could lead to the discovery of the next big global game and further define the UK’s place as a pioneering country, leading and reshaping the world of game development.