The video game industry in the United Kingdom received a “power up” earlier this week when the government announced a new £4m fund (roughly $6.18m U.S.) designed to provide grants of up to £25,000 to “support video games projects, as well as creating jobs, nurturing talent and furthering the growth of games clusters all around the UK,” according to the Dispatch Times. The video game industry in the United Kingdom is quite strong, with many major franchises originating from the country, including the hit Grand Theft Auto series by Rockstar North in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The financial impact of the video game industry in the United Kingdom is significant, as the most recent installment of the GTA franchise, Grand Theft Auto V, reportedly made over $800m U.S. within 24 hours of going on sale.
— The Tech Journal (@TheTechJournal) September 6, 2015
The newly announced funding initiative, known as the U.K. Games Fund, is backed by a not-for-profit company known as the U.K. Games Talent and Finance CIC. According to the website, the grants will not entitle the U.K. Games Fund to any ownership or capital share of the recipient companies, as the website states, “We are not for profit and do not have share capital.” Instead, the fund is designed to help create jobs and increase the amount of new games originating from the United Kingdom.
Both of the United Kingdom’s gaming trade bodies, Ukie and Tyga, have been calling for this sort of gaming prototype development fund for several years. Jo Twist, the CEO of Ukie, was predictably thrilled with announcement, as indicated by comments made in a recent interview with Wired Magazine.
“We lobbied for this kind of support and we are pleased to see the Fund launch. It has enormous potential for the future of the UK games industry.”
Developers across the Irish Sea also reacted on social media, supporting the United Kingdom’s initiative and calling for similar initiatives to support developers throughout Ireland.
— Elaine Reynolds (@Elaine_Reynolds) October 12, 2015
According to a post on Lidtime.com, the intent of the new U.K. Games Fund’s grants would be to enable start-up and aspiring developers in the United Kingdom to “turn their ideas for new games into working prototypes which can then be used to woo private investment – or, as is increasingly the case, to launch a crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter or similar.” Developers in the U.K. have access to a variety of crowdfunding websites, ranging from global entities such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to U.K.-specific platforms such as WeFund.com and Crowdfunder.co.uk.
Through the U.K. Games Fund grants, developers will have the requisite funding needed to create a proof-of-concept that will be sufficient to attract private investors or enable much more successful crowdfunding campaigns. Paul Durrant, the Managing Director for the U.K. Games Talent and Finance CIC, reiterated the goals of the United Kingdom Games Fund in recent comments reported by Computer Weekly.
“Funding for both prototype development and talent support can really make a difference in the early stages of creative and business development. This fund is a great boost for the sector and will help projects better attract significant private investment.”
With this newly announced economic support for fledgling video game developers in the United Kingdom, the government is hoping to see more massively successful, revenue-generating franchises emerge. In addition to the GTA franchise, the United Kingdom is also where the Tomb Raider franchise of games originated, as well as Goldeneye 007, the late 1990s hit made for the Nintendo 64 platform.
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