The British Games Institute has unveiled new proposals as part of its plan to become the lead government agency in the games industry responsible for funding, culture and education.
The BGI was announced back in January 2017 and is being led by industry veterans Ian Livingstone and Rick Gibson. It's also gained support from both UK games industry trade bodies TIGA and Ukie, as well as over 500 other senior figures from the sector.
The agency’s three objectives are to:
- To encourage the development of the art, science and technology of video games across the UK
- To research and promote video games’ impact on and reflection of British culture, and protect national video game collections that represent the 40-year heritage of British-made games
- To gather and disseminate the UK’s artistic and technical expertise in games production and distribution, to increase the productivity of British games studios and up-skill its workforce
The BGI has identified three challenges facing the UK games industry it hopes to help the sector overcome: finance, culture and skills. Its answer to these is to set up a number of new initiatives aimed specifically at tackling issues around these themes.
It has proposed a £5 million annual programme of financial support for games production using grants and soft loans. This will be available for between 35 to 40 projects a year, distributed over three rounds per year. Any funding over £100,000 would require match-funding from other finance sources - which the BGI will help promote.
A new £1.5 million culture programme has also been proposed to “celebrate the creativity and diversity of British Games culture to the public”.
This initiative will come in various forms, from research into the cultural and economic impact of games to funding a nationwide programme of games events, hackathons and competitions.
The BGI wants a £300,000 programme to acquire and share skills between studios “using the latest online training techniques”.
It aims to catalogue best practice games production and commercialisation techniques in 10 new disciplines each year and also partner with the Open University’s FutureLearn platform to train students online.
The BGI’s programmes will require a budget of £8 million per annum for the first three years, and it hopes to raise this to £10 million to £12 million after that period.
Just under £800,000 per year will also be needed to cover salaries and overheads for its team of 14.
To raise these funds the BGI is looking for £8 million ‘Grant in Aid’ funding from the DCMS, and it also hopes to win National Lottery funding of £2 million to £4 million within three years.
A fundraising campaign will also look to obtain money from the industry and other sources.
The BGI is expected to take six months to fully start up once funds are in place.
You can read the full list of proposals here.