New £4m Fund Will Support UK Game Developers

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Startup developers to be given grants and support as government seeks the next ‘Tomb Raider’

The government will offer grants and support to UK video games developers in a show of support for the industry.

Over the next four years, the £4 million Video Games Prototype Fund will look to help British developers create new games that rival previous home grown successes like Tomb Raider, Runescape and Grand Theft Auto.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be given to ‘new and young’ developers create a prototype and up to £50,000 will be available to take games beyond the prototype phase. The government will also provide talent development initiatives, competitions, placements and mentorship schemes, having already introduced tax relief for the sector.

Gaming support

Tomb Raider 2The government believes this money will help companies secure private investment and help grow the industry, which it claims employees 19,000 people and generates more than £4.5 million a day.

“Britain’s video games punch well above their weight internationally and we need to build on this and invest in the strength of our creativity,” said culture minister Ed Vaizey. “This fund will give small businesses, start-ups and individuals the support they need to better attract private investment and go on to create the blockbusters of tomorrow.”

The fund will be based in London and Dundee, which is home to many developers. Indeed the scheme is the successor to one which was run by Abertay University, located in the Scottish city, between 2010 and 2014.

“The UK has a long history of developing world-class video games,” added Ian Livingstone, video games entrepreneur, fantasy author and co-founder of Games Workshop. “From Elite and Populous to Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto to Runescape and Moshi Monsters to Monument Valley and Plunder Pirates, UK games have made a significant cultural and economic global impact.”

This latest initiative will be managed UK Games Talent and Finance Community Interest Company, both of which will explore joint opportunities with the likes of Digital Catapult, BAFTA, BFI, Creative England and Creative Scotland.

“One of the biggest challenges currently facing the UK games industry is the fact we aren’t able to grow as fast as the amount of fresh, new talent coming out of the country’s universities,” Hannah Peers, Media and Marketing Co-ordinator at Bournemouth-based Amuzo Games told TechWeekEurope. “The key to the industry’s success, now and in the future, is attracting, retaining and nurturing this up-and-coming talent.

“The UK Games Fund initiative will give graduates a better chance to break into what is, at the moment, a hugely competitive industry and will open doors for existing game studios to offer career opportunities to utilise this talent and not let it go to waste.”

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