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How much does the UK government spend on games?

By on September 21, 2009
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The UK government has just released figures showing that the nine Regional Development Agencies have invested nearly £2 million pounds in the development of the games industry in England (and I mean England, the figures don’t cover Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).

RDA funding to the computer games industry

2007-2008

Advantage West Midlands

£800,000

*
East of England Development Agency

£62,000

East Midlands Development Agency

£164,000

London Development Agency

£121,000

North West Development Agency

£166,000

One North East

£471,000

South East of England Development Agency

**
South West of England RDA

**
Yorkshire Forward

£99,000

£1,883,000

* AWM has provided £800,000 of support to develop the Serious Games sector
** SEEDA and SWERDA don’t have specific game programmes, so could not provide data

I’m intrigued to know where this £2 million is going, and whether it has been effective. If you’ve received some of the money, do let me know.

But more broadly, is £2 million enough? Do you think that the government should be investing directly into risky games companies at all – perhaps that should be left to the capitalist economy?

Please, tell me your thoughts in the comments. I’d really like to hear from you.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • As far as I'm aware NC Soft applied for and received £1 million on the Grant for Business Investment (formerly known as Selective Finance for Investment or SFIE grants). http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3163212

  • I think NCsoft in Brighton got some government money a couple of years ago? Might be wrong about that but I seem to remember something about it.

  • As far as I'm aware NC Soft applied for and received £1 million on the Grant for Business Investment (formerly known as Selective Finance for Investment or SFIE grants). http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3163212

  • I think NCsoft in Brighton got some government money a couple of years ago? Might be wrong about that but I seem to remember something about it.

  • I guess we should add the £2.25 million that Channel 4 is spending with UK games development companies from its education budget. It is, after all, owned by the government.

    http://www.develop-online.net/news/32788/Channe

  • Interesting, I've not read about this anywhere else… I wonder if the funds are going to larger or smaller studios? £62,000 obviously doesn't even register for most commercial projects, but would mean a lot to an indie.

    While I'm sure the games industry benefits from various wider initiatives like SkillSet, it's nice to see something specific to games.

  • Thats not entirely a realistic map of investment by the government funding available.

    We have the various skills councils (Skill Set) who provide training and other soft investment facilities, we have the R&D bodies such as NESTA and the Technology Strategy board which have all invested heavily in games technology companies and ITC over the last few years Emote and Monumental Games both drew down big grants for technology development . We also have the R&D tax credit system that is direct aid in the form of government tax deferral for qualifying companies I don’t know many established game companies and publishers that don’t subscribe to this program every year. Additional the business support agencies such as Connect Midlands and Business Link provide capital loans and grants to games companies in agers such as management training and investment readiness programs. There’s a lot more money out there to support games companies than just the regional screen and media agencies.