TIGA’s Manifesto for London 2020

I have never read a statement from a country voicing regrets that the investment in upskilling their citizens has not resulted in the growth of economic activity. Its commonly understood to a way of creating economic activity in the technology sectors, particularly software.

Two countries of course that come to mind are Korea and Poland, both of which have made significant investments in the IT skills of their constituents. Korea has become a powerhouse developer when it comes to online entertainment and Poland one of the worlds largest exporters of video game content.

TIGA, the trade association representing the video games industry, has set out a vision for how the London Mayor elected on 7th May 2020 can help to grow the London video games sector. 
 
London represents one of the most important video games clusters in Europe, with 277 companies employing 3,026 developers (2018). TIGA’s Manifesto makes the following recommendations:  
 
1. Introduce a London Video Games Investment Fund that would provide pound for pound matched funding for original game projects, as well as provide a commercial mentoring service for games companies that access its grants or loans.

2. Enhance and reform the £1m Culture Seeds Awards in order to improve access to finance for smaller games businesses. More specifically, provide prototype funding for local high technology entrepreneurs, including games developers, in order to strengthen the video games hub in London.

3. Reinforce and expand the  Creative Enterprise Zones concept to reduce the overhead costs of smaller, independent games businesses looking to be based in London, thereby promoting the development of games clusters in the capital.

4. Adapt the ‘Skills for London Fund’ to provide pound for pound matched funding in high quality training, education and apprenticeship programmes. This will help more Londoners gain the skills that the games industry and the overall economy needs.

5. Strengthen the high technology video games cluster in London, for example, by improving infrastructure, internet speeds, reduced business rates, providing incubators and cementing industry-education links.

6. Champion a migration system that enables the UK’s high technology and creative industries to recruit highly skilled people from overseas to address skills shortages. See TIGA’s 2019 General Election Manifesto for more information on this.

7. Encourage inward investment into London’s video games industry by highlighting the capital’s skilled workforce and by promoting the UK’s Video Games Tax Relief, a measure which effectively reduces the cost of games development. 
 
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:  
 
“TIGA’s 2020 manifesto for the London Mayoral Elections sets out a plan for reinforcing our successful video games industry in London.  
 
“London has a dynamic video games sector. Leading games companies, including Sony and Space Ape Games, are based in London and studios have access to highly skilled developers and leading universities.  However, many studios still struggle to scale up, raise finance and recruit the necessary skilled people. 
 
“TIGA’s 2020 manifesto for the London Mayoral Elections sets out a plan for reinforcing our capital’s successful video games industry. By strengthening start-ups, improving access to finance and enhancing skills we can ensure that London’s video games sector will grow, increase and expand.” 

TIGA will play its part in strengthening our video games industry by:

• maintaining a strong, effective and reasonable voice for the video games industry in the media, government and political circles;

• accrediting UK video games degree courses via TIGA’s effective and efficient University Accreditation System to ensure that universities and colleges produce graduates with industry relevant skills and to promote best practice in higher education for games (https://tiga.org/education/tiga-university-accreditation);

• enhancing industry-academia links and knowledge sharing with respect to educational and skills requirements for the sector.  

• promoting the TIGA STAR system to identify excellent employers and to promote best practice in the video games industry (https://tiga.org/star);

• providing an authoritative source of data on the state of the UK video games industry; and,

• promoting best practice, sharing knowledge and celebrating success by delivering the annual TIGA Games Industry Awards and by publishing practical business guides for the industry.