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TIGA is 'not a charity', needs financial backing to fight industry's corner

CEO Dr. Richard Wilson hits back

TIGA is 'not a charity', needs financial backing to fight industry's corner
UK trade association TIGA has reacted strongly to claims that it puts its own interests ahead of those of independent developers by claiming it serves as the industry's "tiger".

In an emailed response sent to PocketGamer.biz, CEO Dr. Richard Wilson directly addresses a blog post made by Zee-3 co-founder Ste Pickford, who vented frustration at TIGA's decision to charge non-members for a guide to self-publishing.

"Not only does everyone in the games industry share help and information freely already - and thanks to the internet that information is easily and instantly available - but the current trend in video game self publishing is for making our actual games themselves free to play," said Pickford, suggesting TIGA was out of touch with indie outfits.

Not a free to play game

Pickford also criticised the body's membership charges, claiming such practices ensure the small studios TIGA should be looking to support are alienated.

In response, Wilson points out that while TIGA is a not-for-profit organisation, it likewise isn't a charity either. To support the industry, he claims, it needs funds.

"While games firms, recently driven by the app culture, may offer products free of charge, trade associations such as TIGA work within limited means to promote and support members' interests and the interests of the games industry as a whole," argues Wilson.

"TIGA has a responsibility to deliver high quality services to its members and to avoid making a financial loss."

With those funds, Wilson claims, TIGA is able to deliver value back by campaigning for motions to benefit both members and non-members, such as the tax break for the game industry recently announced by the UK Government.

Going beyond

"Make no mistake: the tax break victory is not simply good for TIGA members," continues Wilson.

"It is good for the games industry generally because it will result in more investment; it is good for employees and students because it will create more job opportunities; and it is good for the economy at large because it will help to support the economic recovery."

Wilson also points to ventures organised by TIGA designed to engage the industry at large, such as its recent GameHack event and its work with Train2Game – something Pickford singled out in his original post.

Wilson's central argument, however, is that the funds it takes from developers – whether in terms of membership fees or in payment for guides – are there purely so the body can go on functioning.

Money matters

Putting any quarrels about payments aside, he suggests criticising TIGA in this manner is actualy a debate about what the role of a trade association should be. On that score, Wilson says TIGA's record speaks for itself.

"Without the support of our members we would not have been able to campaign for tax breaks, which will now benefit the whole industry," he concludes.

"Without the financial backing, we would not be able to provide quality information and advice or host quality industry events. Without the commitment of our members we would not be able to provide commercial opportunities for our members or to save members money from our network of 39 industry suppliers.

"TIGA is a member-driven organisation. It has a mix of start-ups and more established independent UK games companies on its board.

"If we want to see a flourishing developer and digital publisher sector, with rising numbers of start-ups and growing sustainable studios and declining business mortality rates, if we want to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business, then we need an effective trade association."

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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