A Game of Survival

Last night, Theresa May survived the first vote of no confidence against a Conservative party leader since 2003. The vote, which came down 200—117 in favour of May, was first triggered on Tuesday night after the threashold of 48 of her own MPs was reached filing letters calling for a new Conservative party leader. May has levelled off the no confidence vote, however, she still needs to get the draft withdrawal agreement through Parliament or scrap it altogether and renegotiate again to ensure that her party stands firmly behind her. She headed off to Europe this morning for more talks.

It is important to remember though that Brexit is only one side of the equation. Success in the Games and interactive entertainment industry relies on what we do domestically; skills, industrial support and maintaining the right regulatory environment, all have huge significance to our sector regardless of what is happening with Brexit. Ukie remains committed to ensuring that the UK is the best place in the world to make, sell and play games, whatever the outcome of the goings on in Westminster.

After the EU referendum of June 2016, we understood just how important it was to have a member-lead perspective when lobbying Government.  We surveyed and consulted our members about the key challenges and opportunities for the games industry and the key issues, as detailed in our State of Play report are as follows:

  • The status of EU citizens post Brexit
  • Free movement of data across borders
  • Access to market

Status of EU citizens

70% of companies we surveyed said access to talent is critically important to the industry and that the most detrimental aspect of Brexit would be new difficulties in sourcing high-skilled EU people who bring with them experience, specific skills and perspectives. 57% of UK games companies employ workers from the EU  who make up to a third of their headcount, so that’s why the number one concern is the status of EU citizens post-Brexit and access to talent for the sector more generally.

Free movement of data

The games industry exports globally, processes data from around the world and fundamentally relies on the ability to move data across borders. Ukie has been making the point about just how important an issue data adequacy is to our sector from the outset. While it is technically feasible to separate the data that they hold on UK consumers 63% of games companies say that this would impose significant costs.

Without a deal on adequacy our sector, and indeed the wider tech and digital economy in the UK would be significantly hamstrung. It is critical that the Government ensures there is a robust legal basis in place following our departure from the EU for efficient cross-border data transfers to continue.

Access to market

The UK’s current strength as a location for investment is credited to a combination of factors; a nationwide world class talent base, a stable regulatory and business friendly environment, ease of access to international markets, incentives including tax reliefs, and appropriate regulation.

The UK’s reputation as a key location for investment has partially been down to sthe factors mentioned above: ease of access to EU markets, world class talent, stable regulatory environment etc. This is especially so for the games sector, which is international and global by its very nature. In our 2017 Ukie Members Survey, 61% of responding games businesses said they generated more than 75% of their income from outside of the UK. Future regulatory divergences and tariff barriers should be avoided as much as possible. Retaining ease of access to EU markets and establishing ease of access to other global markets is crucial.

A comprehensive plan for trade and investment for the UK games industry requires input and understanding from everyone involved and so we’re working with the Department of International Trade to increase their connections with UK games companies and understanding of the specific barriers that they face in working in their markets.

In the words of Ukie CEO Jo Twist OBE; 'The UK games sector is already world class but with the right support, policies and leadership in place, it can truly become a world-leader.'