£4m boost for video game industry

UK studios created blockbusters such as the Tomb Raider series
UK studios created blockbusters such as the Tomb Raider series
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Video game businesses are to receive a £4 million funding boost from the UK government to aid the industry’s growth.

The fund – to be administered from offices in Dundee and London – will aim to support small and start-up companies turn ideas into reality and will reinforce a growth business that has provided world global blockbusters like Batman: Arkham Knight, Little Big Planet and Tomb Raider.

Over the four years from 2015 to 2019, the video games prototype fund will offer grants of up to £25,000 to support video games projects, as well as creating jobs, nurturing talent and furthering the growth of games clusters all around the UK.

The fund forms part of a package of measures the government has introduced for the sector, including tax reliefs.

Features will include grants of up to £25,000 to help new and young games development businesses create working prototype games and up to £50,000 for a limited number of projects to take their ideas beyond the prototype phase.

Ed Vaizey, the UK minister for culture and the digital economy, said: “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.

“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 prototype fund will build upon a previous UK government-supported scheme, which was successfully run by Abertay University between 2010 and 2014 and benefited companies in Scotland such as Stormcloud Games and Blazing Griffin.

Peter van der Watt, founder of Blazing Griffin, said: “The prototype fund came at exactly the right time for us in terms of building the team and portfolio. This support and the confidence the grant provided was instrumental in us securing significant additional working capital for the company”

Paul Durrant, managing director of UK Games Talent and Finance CIC, which will manage the fund, said: “Funding for both prototype development and talent support can really make a difference in the early stages of creative and business development. This fund is a great boost for the sector and will help projects better attract significant private investment.”

The UK’s video games industry currently generates more than £4.5 million a day for the UK economy and directly employs more than 19,000 people.