UK video game industry trade group TIGA has joined forces with members of the European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) to voice its concern that the new EU funding programs planned for media and culture and for research and innovation for 2013 – 2020 do not place "sufficient emphasis" on the video game development sector. The groups voiced their concerns at Gamescom this week in Cologne, Germany.
Citing Canada and several states in the U.S., TIGA pointed out that government tax credits and other financial measures in Europe have failed to materialize. Further, they point out that "video game development can engender new business models, create innovative content and drive groundbreaking technological discoveries with positive spillover effects for other sectors."
"Game developers are typically high-tech SMEs, yet very few of them qualify for EU support. European game developers compete globally against highly subsidised competitors," said Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA's CEO. "It is time for EU policy makers to power our high technology, highly skilled, export focused industry forward and embrace the digital era."
TIGA and the EGDF recommend that the European Commission introduce measures that support the video game development sector, including:
– a new definition of innovation including innovations related to content, services, and business models;
– an SME-quota for EU RTD projects so that at least 50% of the funding goes to SMEs;
– balanced EU funding schemes for SMEs between loan guarantees and prototype development / IP creation funding;
– a threshold, for example, by placing the maximum EU contribution per project to about five million euros; and
– direct and concrete support and consultation for SMEs, for example by using a network of Media Desks throughout Europe.
TIGA and the EGDF also call for reforms to the new "Creative Europe programme" that combine European support for interactive, audiovisual and textual art with advocacy for measuring and securing a "strong variety of content that reflects the cultural values and traditions of member states," that adds an independent pillar for video games in the program, and adds "substantial" game prototype development / IP creation support.