The recent tax breaks for the UK Games industry, announced last week by the Chancellor, have been received with great joy from the majority of the people in the industry. It is a great win for us all and for the UK in general.
Ok, we have had an official statment from UKIE.
“We want to work with any partners who can help achieve our shared goals for the good of the wider UK games industry. The offer is very much there for UKIE to work more closely with TIGA in a number of ways, especially in making sure that tax breaks are rigorously consulted on, and implemented in the UK next year. UKIE represents the broadest possible breadth of games and interactive entertainment businesses and we want to make sure these businesses, of all sizes, thrive in a growing, global marketplace.”
We have now had a great statement from TIGA.
At TIGA, we don’t accept the basic assumption that our industry would be best served by having a single trade body. We believe differences of opinion and debate are generally healthy and help improve arguments on all sides, regardless of whether it results in consensus. There is no more case for a single trade body than there is a case for a single political party representing and governing our country. It’s one thing to collaborate with other partners from time to time, but monopolies are generally wrong.
Ultimately it’s the issues and opinions that are important, not the number of bodies representing them. Our industry is best served by outlining a vision, debating its merits, and then delivering it through a tenacious focus on its key priorities. TIGA has clearly demonstrated its effectiveness in recent years, not least with respect to winning the argument for a tax relief for games production. We would welcome anyone that shares our vision to join us as a TIGA member.
Thanks so much to both parties for putting forward their opinion. It seems a great topic of debate, so please let us know your thoughts!
There are facts to back this up. Head to the TIGA website and they will tell you that the tax relief will;
- Secure 4,661 Jobs
- £188 Million in Investment Expenditure
- £283 Million contribution to UK DGP
- £172 Million in Tax
- All at a cost of £96 Million over 5 years.
- It will also help to ensure that the UK remains the place to go for games development.
All good. So why am I about to moan? Link bait? Maybe. Genuine concern for the games industry? Definitely.
I jokingly tweeted that;
“The games industry is a group of like minded people, all working against each other to achieve a common goal.”
At the time it was meant to be a little bit tongue in cheek, but as I thought about it, it really is true. Small sites fighting for position with big sites, magazines trying to trump websites, reviewers trying to discredit each other and trade bodies that seem to be at odds.
It is the trade bodies that worry me. In the UK Games Industry there are two main trade bodies. UKIE and TIGA. Both proclaim that their interest is to help the UK game industry have a voice and become the respected industry that it should be. Yet it would seem to me they are working against each other. UKIE on their site says, “UKIE is the only trade body for the UK’s wider interactive entertainment industry”, whilst TIGA proudly state, “TIGA is the non-profit trade association representing the UK’s games industry.” On the surface, it looks like they both want the same thing.
Their coverage of the Tax breaks also shows this. TIGA, rightly very proud as it was them that fought for the breaks, says “TIGA, the only trade association to have consistently campaigned for tax relief for games development…”. UKIE is less assertive with “UKIE has strongly supported the call for tax breaks for the UK games industry…”.
It was not until I watched the BAFTA Games Question time recently that I started to feel there is more to worry about than a few carefully chosen “Only’s” in their wording. Dr Jo Twist (CEO of UKIE) and Jason Kingsley (Chairman of TIGA) were both on and it seemed civil. Jo was complementary about the fact that their ‘colleagues’ in TIGA were taking great strides in campaigning for the tax breaks. It was only when the mention of TIGA and UKIE joining forces came up that I noticed a worrying moment. Jo Twist seemed open about it. Jason seemed to get very defensive, one twitter commentator said “Jason was a tad bristly with her”
Now I am sure there is some great reason for this. There are probably deep-seated and fundamental reasons for UKIE and TIGA not to like each other. In February last year talks to join forces were on then off again. TIGA said the following in a statement
“We do not see value in distracting ourselves with talks towards such an end while the games industry faces pressing matters including Games Tax Relief, R&D tax credits, improving access to finance, migration policy, education and skills and IP.”
To me that seems like the perfect reason to join forces.
The games industry is a new industry. It is like Industry 2.0. It should be showing the world that it is here, it is better than what came before and it is here to stay. Silly politics between the only two trade bodies can only hurt it. We should be holding our heads high and shouting. Hey, you. Look at us. We are a united industry. We are the future. We have one voice and we are all working together to get that voice heard.
Please, I beg of you all. Make this happen. Make the games industry in the UK the best in the world and give us all something to shout about.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I will also see if I can get comments from UKIE or TIGA as well.