LONDON, September 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers in the UK, has today called for policy makers to make prototype funding available for independent games developers, which could be financed via the National Lottery.
TIGA's research indicates that the relatively low availability of finance for UK games companies is restricting their growth potential, particularly the large number of new games companies that have started up in recent years. 44 per cent of UK games companies have started up in the last two years alone.
Difficulties in accessing finance have contributed to a high mortality rate: 29 per cent of UK games companies that have existed at any time in the last five years have closed down.
TIGA proposes that National Lottery funding should be made available to finance early stage game development work and the creation of playable prototypes. The Prototype Fund would also include business, creative and technical guidance for funded projects to maximise the prospect of commercial success.
For example, the AppCampus Award Process provides a sound model for prototype funding; In addition to strict milestone funding, recipients benefit from coaching, formal classes and introductions to key industry figures including investors.
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, said:
"TIGA is focused on strengthening the UK games development and digital publishing sector and so we are proposing that policy makers give a helping hand to start-ups. The global market for video games is growing and the UK has an opportunity to win an increasing share of this market. Yet start-up development studios are finding it relatively difficult to raise external finance and this can be a serious problem, as the development of new technology and content can be expensive.
"Making prototype funding available will tip the balance more in favour of start-ups and small development studios by helping them to surmount the barriers to accessing finance. Enabling more promising studios to fund prototype development and IP generation will also support wider economic growth.
"However, prototype funding should not be a stand-alone policy. In particular, developers need business and commercial advice on how to get their prototype fully funded and released into the market. Combining prototype support with business advice will enable the building of more successful games studios which means a stronger UK games industry and a stronger UK economy."
Notes to editors
The UK has made some funding available to support prototype development in recent years. Abertay University delivered a prototype fund that enabled developers to apply for grants of up to £25,000 to create prototype games. The Abertay Prototype Fund helped over 70 companies, supporting nearly 500 new or continuing jobs and enabled start-ups to overcome some critical business constraints. However, the Abertay Prototype Fund has now been fully invested.
Creative England introduced a Development Fund in 2013, whereby small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been able to apply for grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to develop a new game IP for commercial release, but this has now closed. Creative England introduced a Prototype Fund for start-ups to apply for £10,000 to develop a prototype game. These are good schemes but they are small scale in nature and are restricted to assist companies in certain parts of England. 
TIGA is the trade association representing the UK video game industry.
We help developers and digital publishers build successful studios, network with the right people, save money and access professional business advice. We also have traditional publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.
TIGA is 90% funded by independent UK businesses. 80% of our board members are developers and/or from UK owned businesses, and 50% of our board are UK business owners themselves. Since 2010, TIGA has won 17 business awards.
TIGA focuses on three sets of activities:
- Political representation
- Media representation
- Business services
This enhances the competitiveness of our members by providing benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.
It also means our members' voices are heard in the corridors of power and positively represented in national, broadcast and UK video game trade media.
Get in touch:
For further information, you can also contact:
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on: +44-(0)7875-939-643, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Field, TIGA Communications Director on: +44-(0)7720-643-344, or email email@example.com
2. 72 per cent of respondents who had benefited from the Abertay Prototype Fund reported that the scheme had enabled them to surmount the constraint on their business of accessing working capital. 62 per cent said that the Fund had enabled them to deliver employment growth, 53 per cent stated that it had allowed them to secure new commercial partnerships and 88 per cent noted that it had helped them to develop an effective business model. 25 per cent of respondents said that the Fund had enabled them to release new IP and a further 60 per cent said that the IP was still in development. 78 per cent said that they would not have secured funding elsewhere (information from Abertay University, January 21st 2014).
3. Creative England's funds are primarily derived from either the Regional Growth Fund or ERDF, both of which are made available on geographical eligibility based on historic support (or lack of). ERDF in particular, is restricted to very specific regions, whilst RGF is more "national" and the aim is for us to determine the areas that would most benefit from the funds.
SOURCE TIGA, the trade association representing the UK videogame industry