Train2Game News UK Games Fund

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy has today announced the successful applicants to the second round of the Government’s UK Games Fund.
The UK Games Fund attracted an incredible 235 applications for the second round of the Fund. The 23 businesses winning grant funding are located all over the UK – including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Belfast, Bristol, Brighton, Guildford and London, and represent the best of the UK’s emergent games development, innovation and creativity.

The £4 million, four-year UK Games Fund is accelerating the growth of games clusters around the UK – by helping creative young businesses develop new games idea and by supporting talent. The Fund will run until 2019 and will provide grants of up to £50,000 to support video games projects, create jobs and help develop new talent.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy said:

“The UK’s creative industries are one of our greatest success stories, generating more than £84bn a year for the UK economy. Our video games industry is world-renowned, but we know that many small businesses sometimes lack the capital to help develop their ideas and attract private investment. Our fund is helping bridge that gap and help developers take their ideas from the drawing board and into production.”

The talent element of the UK Games Fund – the Tranzfuser™ initiative, has also got off to a flying start.  A total of 19 teams of eager young graduates have been chosen to develop their games ideas over 10 weeks this summer, hosted in 10 regional centres covering the breadth of the UK. They are all working towards a showcase of their working games prototypes at a leading consumer-facing games forum in September. http://tranzfuser.com/

Paul Durrant, Managing Director, UK Games Talent and Finance CIC said:

“With 235 applications, there was unprecedented demand for our funding in this round so these successful applicants really do represent the best of the UK’s emergent games development talent. Now that the success stories from our first round are just beginning to emerge, we’re expecting to see a similar level of success from these projects.”

The successful applicants to the second round are:

Brightrock Games Ltd, Acid Nerve Ltd, Penny Black Studios Ltd, Draw and Code Ltd, A Brave Plan Ltd, Rekim Ltd, Mode 7 Ltd, S2 Entertainment Ltd, Skoogmusic Ltd, Fireblade Software Ltd, Twisted Tree Games Ltd, Beatnik Games Ltd, Broken Fence Games Ltd, Kinesthetic Games Ltd, Auroch Digital Ltd, Rhizome Games Ltd, Damp Gnat Ltd, Talony Games Ltd, Me, We Studios Ltd, Oddtales Ltd, SMAC Games Ltd, Silo Games Ltd, Inlifesize Ltd

The UK Games Fund is managed by UK Games Talent and Finance CIC and works with organisations such as Digital Catapult, BAFTA, Ukie, Tiga, Creative England, Creative Scotland and BFI.

More information on the next round of funding will be released after the summer. Follow @ukgamesfund for the latest information.

More details can be found at www.ukgamesfund.com

Train2Game News UK Games Fund

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The new UK Games Fund, launched last month by Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey, is now accepting applications.

The launch round is targeted at the “pent up demand” amongst established companies. It also requires nomination by two industry peers.

“We know from talking to the companies that we supported in the previous fund and from the enquiries we’ve received since our launch, that there’s a terrific need amongst early stage developers, who’ve been running for a couple of years and now have new IP they need to develop” explains Managing Director Paul Durrant.  “We’re reaching out to them first and accelerating the process by seeking recommendations to highlight strong projects from industry peers.”

“We’ve also seen a lot of interest from newcomers to the industry too so we’re designing a second round launching early next year that will cast a wider net” explains Paul.

“We’re incredibly excited about this first round, but it’s just a small first step amongst range of planned funding packages and talent support projects. We’re going to join things up so that there’s a significant overlap between supported companies, the wealth of UK games development talent and experienced mentors with all of those contributing to value growth in the UK games ecosystem” says Paul.

The project is being run by a new, not-for-profit Community Interest Company, UK Games Talent and Finance and the operational team is essentially the same as the one that ran the previous UK Prototype Fund. Paul has been joined on the board by seasoned investor Mark Hogarth as they look to create more co-investment opportunities for the sector. The company operates out of offices in Dundee and through London’s Digital Catapult.

More details can be found at www.ukgamesfund.com
For all the latest news follow @ukgamesfund on Twitter.

Train2Game News Ed Vaizey at Develop Conference

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Tandem Events, organisers of Europe’s leading video games developer conference Develop:Brighton, announced Minster for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey MP, will address attendees on Wednesday 15 July.

Speaking directly after the opening keynote at 10.30am, Vaizey MP will deliver a speech on his department’s outlook for the video games industry in the United Kingdom.

Ed Vaizey MP first attended Develop:Brighton in 2010 and will look back on what has changed in terms of policy over that time period, how tax credits will affect the industry and his ambition for the next five year while in office.

Appointed Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with responsibility for digital industries on 15 July 2014, Ed Vaizey MP was first elected as the MP for Wantage in 2005. He was re-elected in 2010, and May 7 2015.

“We are delighted to welcome back Ed Vaizey MP to Develop:Brighton,” commented Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events. “It’s fantastic the Minister continues to champion the video games industry in the UK and that he’s chosen to deliver his address here at Develop:Brighton once again.”

Registration is open at www.developconference.com with passes starting from as little as £125. Entry to the Expo is free.

Train2Game News Women in creative industries falling

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The number of women in the digital and creative industries are falling.

Just one quarter (26%) of those working in the digital sector are female, new research shows.

The findings, released today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), show the proportion of women is down from 33% in 2002 – far below the UK average of 47%.

The shortfall comes at a time where skilled staff are in high demand: the research found there were a higher proportion of vacancies in digital and creative than across the economy as a whole, with high-level roles such as programmers and web developers remaining unfilled.

The industries now face a battle for talent, as projections suggest that 1.2m people will be needed to fill jobs in the sector by 2022.

Karen Price, Director of the Tech Partnership, a network of employers working on digital skills, said:

“The UK is a world leader in the digital and creative industries. Our software development, visual effects and computer games companies are some of the best there are, and we want to keep them that way. That means that we need to make sure talented people fill the jobs that we’ll need to keep growing.

“The news that female entrants to the digital sector are falling is very disappointing. We want to show women and girls that there are great opportunities in the digital sector, and that the rewards are great too.

“It’s key that we influence girls from a young age  and our TechFuture Girls programme aims to get girls of 10 to 14 engaged with computer skills and IT through after-school clubs. In 2022 these girls will be making choices about further study and careers, and making sure they know how important digital skills are is vital.”

The research suggests such a high volume of vacancies cause more than just increased workloads for employees, with 40% of employers reporting that they had lost business due to not being able to fill posts.

More than 2 million people are employed in digital and creative industries, with the sector worth £137bn to the UK annually.

UKCES research also finds jobs within the sector to be highly productive and well paid, with average earnings up to 25% higher than the UK average.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“The UK’s Digital and Creative Industries are amongst our biggest success stories, but for them to continue to flourish we must make sure the next generation of talent is being taught, trained and nurtured. Initiatives like TechFuture Girls that encourage young women to consider a career in this dynamic sector will play an important role in addressing this issue.”

Train2Game News UKIE outlines new manifesto for games industry

UKIE LogoOn Tuesday, Ukie, in partnership with Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, hosted its largest ever Westminster Political Reception to announce a range of policy recommendations and to celebrate the cultural and economic importance of the UK games sector.

The event, held at Millbank Tower, was attended by more than 200 members, MPs, Peers, policy makers and industry figures from a range of creative industry sectors.

The event saw the launch of the new Ukie Policy Manifesto for the next Parliament that outlines initial plans for how to further grow the UK games sector following the introduction of tax breaks earlier this year, and the introduction of the new Computing curriculum earlier this week.

Created with input from Ukie’s members, the Policy Manifesto calls for action on three headline areas of policy support:

· Support to help UK games companies grow across the UK – including regulatory stability, better infrastructure and a long term roadmap where games businesses can access public funding and support proportionate to the other screen industries

· Promotion of the UK games industry abroad – demonstrating that the UK is one of the leading videogame industries in the world, including a focus on funding, fully supporting and working with industry on trade and investment activity such as trade missions and helping UK businesses to reach overseas marketplaces

· Building a strong and diverse talent pipeline – including supporting the new Computing Curriculum, investing in careers guidance and extending and making permanent the Skills Investment Fund

The reception heard from Justin Tomlinson MP, PPS to Ed Vaizey, on the work that the coalition government has done to support the UK games sector.

Justin Tomlinson MP said: ““The UK games industry is going from strength to strength, recovering some of the ground lost to other countries over the last few years. This growth has been helped very much by the hard work put in by Ukie and the major policy initiatives introduced by this government, such as a new computing curriculum and the recent introduction of production tax relief. However, more can of course be done and in my new role working closely with Ed Vaizey I very much welcome Ukie’s new Policy Manifesto and look forward to discussing its recommendations with Jo and her team in more detail over the coming months.”

The guests also heard from Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, and Roy Stackhouse, General Manager for Activision Blizzard UK and Ireland, discussing Ukie’s manifesto proposals and the strength of the UK as a place to make games.

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist said: “We were delighted by the introduction of games industry tax relief earlier this year but quickly realised that it is essential that we maximise the opportunities that the new scheme presents. We have therefore spent the last six months speaking to our members from across the breadth of our sector about the measures that they would like to see the UK government introduce to truly put the UK’s games industry on the global map. Our Policy Manifesto outlines our members priority asks and we will be following this up with more detailed papers and briefings to MPs to continue our push to make this the best country in the world to make and sell games.”

UK MD of Ubisoft, Rob Cooper commented on the importance of the Westminster Reception in maintaining a positive view of the UK games sector: “Events like these are vital in showing the significance of the UK games industry, both culturally and economically, to a high profile audience of policy makers and other VIPs. We are delighted to support this year’s event and Ukie’s work generally in giving a voice to UK games businesses of all sizes from multinationals like Ubisoft, to smaller developers, making and selling some of the most vibrantly creative interactive entertainment in the world.”

Guests at the reception had a chance to play some of Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard’s latest titles including Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Just Dance 2014, Diablo III and Skylanders: Trap Team. Charity Special Effect were also there demonstrating their latest innovations to help young people with different abilities enjoy games.

You can find Ukie’s Policy Manifesto for the New Parliament here: http://ukie.org.uk/news/2014/09/ukie-westminster-reception

Train2Game News From Bedrooms to Billions at Eurogamer

Layout 1The world premiere of From Bedrooms To Billions, a new documentary movie telling the remarkable story of the UK gaming industry, will take place at the UK’s biggest ever videogames event, EGX London 2014.

Running from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 September at London’s Earls Court exhibition centre, EGX London 2014 will feature the hottest triple A and indie games, a huge fighting game tournament and an impressive line-up of developer sessions.

The film’s co-director, Anthony Caulfield, commented: “I am thrilled to confirm that From Bedrooms To Billions will be premiered at this summer’s EGX event in London. This is the perfect audience and the perfect venue, I couldn’t be happier. The plan is have two showings – one for the trade and one for the public – and we’ll have special guests and some very special surprises in store. Further exciting announcements will be made soon.

“Making From Bedrooms To Billions has been a two-year labour of love and it’s very nearly finished. The first people to see it will be our incredible crowd funding backers and those who pre-order before 31st May. These amazing people have raised over £100,000 for the film’s production and without them it simply wouldn’t have happened, so they get the exclusive ‘Backers Edition’ with tons of great extras. The theatrical cut will then premiere at EGX in September before going on general release to cinemas around the UK.

“While the film has strong nostalgic appeal, we were determined to look forward as well as back. The way the UK somehow lost its way from the early golden era of development and publishing is very sad. However, we firmly believe this will change and that many great opportunities lie ahead, some of which we cover in the film.

“We hope From Bedrooms To Billions will serve as a catalyst for young IT enthusiasts to push the boundaries of what is perceived possible, just as visionary game developers did with the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 in the 1980s. That’s why, once the film has finished its cinema run, we’re making it available to schools, colleges and universities free of charge. It fits nicely with the community feel of the whole project.”

The free-to-schools plan was announced at the recent Business and Universities Game Syndicate (BUGS) launch at BAFTA in London. Co-founded by veteran games developer Jon Hare and Professor Carsten Maple, BUGS aims to connect graduates and employers in order to reverse the UK game industry’s slide down the international pecking order.

This high profile event was attended by, among other senior figures, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, and Ian Livingstone CBE, co-founder of Games Workshop and author of the NESTA report, who led the successful campaign to put computing back on the national curriculum.

Professor Carsten Maple said: “To get the UK back into the top three games developers in the world is a big challenge. We need to make sure we’ve got a good talent pool and that we attract all kinds of students. From Bedrooms To Billions is going to be screened at each of the universities and it will tell us all about how the industry has changed.”

Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, added: “We are experiencing a creative industrial revolution and games are at the heart of it. We want the industry to benefit from graduates who are coming out of university with the right skills, which means they hit the ground running.”

Train2Game news: Creative Industries Minister – UK needs to invest in game development

The UK should invest in game development talent and make changes to the teaching of ICT and computer science in schools.

That’s according to Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, as part of the government’s response to the Livingstone-Hope report about encouraging the next generation of game developers.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, the Livingstone-Hope report was launched in February this year.

“The economic and cultural value of the UK’s video games and VFX sectors is clear and the long-term potential of their global markets present a great opportunity for UK-based businesses,” said Mr. Vaizey.

“It is an industry that has real potential to create the high quality jobs of the future that will be so important as we recover from the recession.

“We need to invest in talent that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of games creativity.”

Today’s government report addresses the concerns of Livingstone-Hope and can be seen in full here. It recognises a number of highly talented UK developers including Media Molecule and Rocksteady.

So Train2Game, what do you make of Vaizey’s comments? Do you believe the government report will eventually aid in the games industry?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop]