“This fund will give small businesses, start-ups and individuals the support they need to better attract private investment and go on to create the blockbusters of tomorrow,” – Ed Vaizey, minister for culture and the digital economy.
Games developers across the UK are invited to apply for a share of a new £4 million Government fund to help boost the nation’s growing video games industry.
They’re encouraged to apply to the Video Games Prototype Fund, which will offer grants of up to £50,000 over the next four years to support video game projects and create new jobs, as well as nurturing talent and furthering the growth of games ‘clusters’ throughout the UK.
According to the UK Government, the fund, which will be administered from offices in Dundee and London, has been designed to help smaller companies get their concepts off the drawing board and into production.
It will also provide extra support to the sector which has already given us the likes of global blockbusters Tomb Raider, Little Big Planet, Runescape, Monument Valley and Batman: Arkham Knight.
The fund forms part of a package of measures the Government has introduced specifically for the sector which also includes tax reliefs.
Minister for culture and the digital economy Ed Vaizey said: “Britain’s video games punch well above their weight internationally and we need to build on this and invest in the strength of our creativity. This fund will give small businesses, start-ups and individuals the support they need to better attract private investment and go on to create the blockbusters of tomorrow.”
According to the latest figures, the UK’s video games industry currently generates more than £4.5 million* a day for the economy and directly employs more than 19,000 people.
Key features of the new fund include:
Grants of up to £25,000 to help new and young games development businesses create working prototype games.
Grants of up to £50,000 for a limited number of projects to take their ideas beyond the prototype phase.
Talent development initiatives – this will include competitions for students and graduate teams to create and showcase new games, mentoring for businesses and individuals, and opportunities for talented individuals to work on games prototype projects.
It will build upon a previous Government-supported scheme, which was successfully run by Abertay University between 2010 and 2014.
Ian Livingstone CBE, fantasy author and video games entrepreneur, said: “The UK has a long history of developing world-class video games. From Elite and Populous to Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto to Runescape and Moshi Monsters to Monument Valley and Plunder Pirates, UK games have made a significant cultural and economic global impact. This fund will encourage and incentivise new talent to carry on that important legacy.”
Beneficiaries of the previous fund include Dundee-based Stormcloud Games and Blazing Griffin in Edinburgh.
Established in 2012 in Dundee by an experienced team of games developers, Stormcloud Games developed the successful children’s game Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo with support from the Prototype Fund.
The game was highly successful with many positive reviews and new and noteworthy features. Stormcloud were able to do an international deal for the IP and the return allowed them to develop pitch for a PS4 title and secure a publishing deal with Sony.
Co-founder Frank Arnot said: “The Prototype Fund came at a crucial time for us. It enabled us to create a significant IP asset that we’ve used as our springboard to work with Sony.”
Having secured spectacular success after acquiring the IP for The Ship in 2011 and further developing it, Edinburgh-based Blazing Griffin secured Prototype Fund support to create a slate of new games IPs to build a broader portfolio and increase investor confidence.
Blazing Griffin’s Peter van der Watt said: “The Prototype Fund came at exactly the right time for us in terms of building the team and portfolio. This support and the confidence the grant provided was instrumental in us securing significant additional working capital for the company.”
This new fund will be managed by the UK Games Talent and Finance Community Interest Company and will explore joint initiatives with organisations such as Digital Catapult, BAFTA, Ukie, Tiga, Creative England, Creative Scotland and BFI.
Paul Durrant, managing director, UK Games Talent and Finance CIC, said: “Funding for both prototype development and talent support can really make a difference in the early stages of creative and business development. This Fund is a great boost for the sector and will help projects better attract significant private investment.”