Yesterday officially marked officially my second week here at Ukie as Policy and Events Intern. Everyday has been varied and different, reflecting the work Ukie does, and it's been incredibly exciting working for such a creative and forward-facing industry.
My first week involved getting up to scratch on the various major issues affecting the industry right now, such as the World Health Organisation’s new classification of ‘gaming disorder’. On my first day, I researched the classification’s impacts on the industry, criticisms of it, and how as representatives of the games industry, we could present a balanced, academically-researched point of view. I have to stop myself from rambling about it - the existence of such a disorder has no academic consensus, and the industry already has mechanisms such as parental controls in place to prevent excessive gaming...
But on a more positive note, last week also saw the release of the British Film Institute’s report, Screen Business: How screen sector tax reliefs power economic growth across the UK, so I organised tweets for Ukie’s twitter to celebrate. The report revealed the fantastic contribution the UK games industry gives to the British economy partially thanks to the Video Game Relief Tax (VGRT). I always believed how important the games sector was as a creative industry but it was great to see the numbers myself - such as how it contributed £2.87billion in GVA to the economy in 2016! The next day involved scanning the press for reactions. Unfortunately, many were focused on film and TV – I really do think its imperative that the focus on traditional media is challenged, because it overlooks the contribution the UK games industry makes to the UK. And thats what Ukie is all about!
Another part of this role is about getting in touch with the relevant people. Ukie, as the trade association for the games industry, has the ability to encourage recommendations to contribute to the industry's growth. For our opcoming policy report, Blueprint for Growth 4.0, Ukie embarked on UK-wide tour to discuss directly with games buisnesses on their concerns for the future. Some really interesting points were made, so I chased up some of the games developers to get their quotes for the Blueprint. I also had the chance last week to contact major games businesses to gather their opinions on the upcoming Internet Safety Strategy being developed by the government.
Lastly, Parliament wasn't spared either: the UK games industry is great for regional development, having clusters of UK games companies in various places such as Guildford, Cambridge, Manchester and more. We thought it would be a nice idea to arrange studio visits for the relevant MPs to showcase the fantastic work that goes into making a game, so most of the latter half of my week was contacting MPs. This is an area I found a strong interest in, especially after having attended a northern university, and its something I’d like to continue working on. I genuinely believe in the importance of developing areas outside of London, and its intriguing to think how this can be done through supporting regional games clusters.
In between all of this were numerous cups of tea offered by my colleagues (perhaps in the hundreds), countless hours commuting, and to round it all off, I had the chance to show off my gamer skills to the office on Spiderman. Concerning the future, I hope to continue working on important policy areas, especially immigration affecting the industry following Brexit. All in all, it has been an exciting insight into not only the work that Ukie does, but the wider UK games industry as well.