As part of yesterday’s London Games Conference, Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey called for sweeping proposals to aid the UK’s videogame development industry.
Vaizey cited research that indicated the UK games market could shrink by 16.5 percent over the next five years, in turn losing some 1,700 jobs. Among the reforms he called for, via MCVUK, were:
• Look at extending the remit of the Film Council to cover the video games sector to give video games the national voice they need and deserve.
• Recognise that high technology companies in the UK face specific challenges when it comes to raising finance and attracting venture capital.
• Give the sector the support it needs to succeed and expand in the global economy.
• Stimulate investment in superfast broadband, vital to the future growth of the sector, through the telecoms regulatory structure.
In a speech at the conference, Vaizey said the UK had lost 44 studios already, and risked losing its current ranking of third in the world (behind America and Japan) in terms of game development. He continued:
Global competition is incredibly fierce, and high development costs in the United Kingdom are slowly killing the industry. Given what is happening, you would expect our Government to be acting urgently. After all, many others are. Unfortunately, the UK is falling far behind.
Vaizey stopped short of endorsing a tax-break for developers, encouraging studios to “think more widely than that,” noting that, “First things first, we need to get the public finances under control by tackling our spiralling deficit.”
So, is Vaizey a gamer?
I am not a gamer. I have just got myself a Wii. So I am getting involved. It’s been the single greatest pleasure of my job to discover and learn about an industry I knew little about before this job.