It’s been something of a hectic week for everyone’s favourite industry body. TIGA has been even busier than its normal hectic pace and is spitting out good news like a happiness sprinkler filled with rainbows. The organisation started the week with news that it has been nominated for no less than SEVEN awards in the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards. The nominations are…
- Annual Report of the Year
- Commercial Initiative of the Year
- Marketing Campaign of the Year
- Membership Pack of the Year
- Membership Success of the Year
- Publication of the Year
- Sector Representation of the Year
Plus, there are another couple of gongs which are not nominated, but simply presented at the awards ceremony on July 7th, which we have been assured is both glittering AND star-studded. These awards are the biggies, including the individual contribution award, leadership award, lifetime achievement award and of course, trade association of the year award. TIGA walked off with the trade association of the year award in 2010, so hopes are high they might reprise this success next month. Richard Wilson, TIGA’s CEO, said:
“At TIGA our vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. Our mission is to fight for the interests of game developers. To achieve these ends we are intent on building an enduring an organisation, one that improves year on year, a business that will make a significant impact on the games industry and so benefit the wider UK economy. TIGA is absolutely delighted therefore to have been shortlisted for seven awards by the Trade Association Forum. This is a testament to TIGA’s superb team and the determination of the TIGA board to deliver results of the highest standard.”
However, that was just the start of TIGA’s week. The association followed the award news up with the exciting revelation that the UK is now an official partner country for the Gamescom event, which take place in Cologne in mid-August, with TIGA overseeing all promotion and participation.
Mr Wilson, already on something of a high note following the awards news, said: “At TIGA our vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. So we are delighted to be the official partner of gamescom, one of the world’s critical trade fairs for the video games industry. The UK is one of the world’s creative hubs and a global centre for video game development. Partner status will demonstrate to the global video games industry that the UK is at the heart of video game, creativity, development and innovation.” “TIGA, the UK’s only officially accredited trade association for the video game sector, will be working with UKT&I to support a score of games businesses to attend gamescom via the Trade Show Access Programme. We look forward to championing the UK video games sector and to working as the official partner of gamescom.”
Which is great. Very positive, upbeat and good news for developers and games related companies which are planning to attend or participate in Europe’s new leading games event.
Yet there’s more…
TIGA’s new Casual Games Committee, which was established earlier this year, held its inaugural event in central London. The event was incredibly popular, with well over one hundred people participating and exploring the opportunities and potential offered by this new area of gaming. The event included speakers from BBC, BBC Worldwide Games, Autodesk, Channel 4 Education, Microsoft, Disney, RIM, UKTI, Zylom, Jeremy Heath-Smith, formerly of Tomb Raider creators, Core Design.
The event seems to have been very well accepted, with all participants commenting favourably on the committee’s first bash.
The irrepressible Richard Wilson, said: “We were delighted that the first Casual Games Committee event was so well attended, with excellent presentations from our speakers. TIGA is committed to delivering valuable services to the wide variety of businesses in the video games sector and this is a further indication of our forward-thinking to support another part of the industry.”
Jeremy Heath-Smith, business consultant at 4T2, added: “The divide between video games companies and casual game companies is getting smaller and smaller. The big advantage that the casual games sector has is that they can learn from all the mistakes the video games industry made and grow with real strength – very exciting times to be in the casual games sector right now.”
Meanwhile, Simon Harris from BBC Worldwide Games section, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to speak at this event and to reach a great cross section of the companies that are going to shape the future of gaming.”
Nick Manning, Industry Development Manager at Autodesk Media & Entertainment, agreed: “The quality of speakers and content at the TIGA Casual Games Committee was both valuable and relevant. From a personal perspective my attendance enabled me to have a deeper understanding of Casual Games industry. From a business perspective, via networking and follow up conversations I met my objectives for making contact with leading companies”.
Finally, Anders Jeppsson, Senior Gaming Strategist at RIM, said: “Research In Motion is heavily investing in creating a future proof, open and easy next generation deeply socially enabled platform for its Playbook tablets and mobile phones that already today present great opportunity for casual games developers to monetize on using WebWorks, Flash 10.1/Adobe AIR, Android and Blackberry Java (Summer/Fall) and Native (Fall).
“So weather [sic] you create casual, social or hard core gaming experiences, using paid-, Ad based or ‘freemium’ business models, moving and improving your content to BlackBerry is as easy as it is profitable already today.”
The casual games committee supports companies working across all platforms, as long as their production budgets fall between £10,000 and £500,000. With more events planned for the future and such a favourable response to the first event, the casual games committee promises to be an interesting new area to watch.
Last – but by no means least, TIGA has also started working closely with the European Games Developers Federation (EGDF) to lobby the European parliament in Brussels and to improve access to finance for game developers.
The EGDF is, as you might expect, a federation of the regional trade associations, groups and bodies, which represent videogames creators across the whole of Europe. The group has just published a series of recommendations for the European parliament, designed to support the games industry now and in the future. The recommendations are:
- Recognise video games as a form of cultural expression and make them eligible in all member states for public funding, as is the case with a growing number of non-European countries.
- Recognise that sector specific tax breaks for games production are vital for enabling the European games development sector to achieve its potential.
- Make video games a pillar of the upcoming MEDIA programme or create an EU video game specific programme.
- Balance EU funding schemes for SMEs between loan guarantees and prototype funding.
- Introduce a 50 per cent SME quota for EU RTD projects because SMEs are the driving force in innovation.
- Simplify the paper work associated with funding programmes for SMEs and promote EU funding programmes more effectively. The network of Media Desks throughout Europe could be used as contact points for information about EU support programs. Additionally, EU innovation programmes should be marketed at major games industry events.
Of course, Dr Wilson, was on hand to provide some context and background on the recommendations and the issues facing games developers operating across Europe: “TIGA is focussed on fighting for the interests of the games industry. Many TIGA members have difficulties accessing finance. Improving access to capital is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK and wider European games industries. Whilst, we continue to lobby the UK Government to introduce proposals supporting the domestic industry, TIGA is keen to engage with policy makers in Brussels too.
“The EDGF Report makes sensible recommendations, including the need for EU policy makers to recognise the cultural value of video games and the importance of improving access to finance. TIGA will work closely on behalf of our members with our European counterparts to try and deliver changes from Brussels which will benefit the UK industry. We call on the European Commission to carefully consider the EGDF’s proposals.”