19 January 2016 - London, United Kingdom - £1.2m investment to help make London the world’s games capital
- Ukie and Film London launch ‘Games London’ to promote the UK’s wider games sector and make London the world’s games capital
- Mayor of London features in Minecraft, launching new initiative with £1.2m investment from the London Enterprise Panel
- London Games Festival, a major new consumer, cultural and business event for the global industry, to take place from 1-10 April 2016
London’s games and interactive entertainment industry is set for a £1.2m boost with the launch of Games London, a ground breaking new programme to make the city the games capital of the world, tapping into a market that globally is worth around $81bn.
Funded by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP), Games London is being delivered by Film London, the capital's strategic agency for film and media, and games trade body Ukie and will build on recent growth in the games sector, which generated £2.8bn in revenue in 2015.
The three year programme will capitalise on the Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR), which was introduced in 2014. It will attract investment to the UK and help businesses based in the capital generate £35million in new revenue, adding nearly £10million, as well as creating hundreds of jobs and boosting skills and training.
The plan was announced today via an in-game press conference featuring Mayor of London Boris Johnson in one of the biggest video games in the world: Minecraft.
Mayor of London and Chair of the LEP, Boris Johnson, said: 'London is already a star player when it comes to games and interactive entertainment, but international competition is fierce and we need to ensure our city can compete with our global gaming rivals. Through Games London we are supercharging an increasingly important sector for our economy, one that exemplifies the capital's reputation for creativity and innovation. From design to banking and civil engineering to film, games technology is being used in a host of different sectors. We are investing in a dynamic and constantly evolving industry to take London to another level as a world-leading capital for games and interactive entertainment.'
The Games London programme will deliver:
- A new annual London Games Festival - with the first taking place in April 2016 - to showcase and celebrate the industry’s huge cultural and economic impact
- A new international business-to-business networking event to attract top investment to the UK
- Inbound and outbound trade missions to promote the tax relief and the sector overseas, in conjunction with London’s official promotional company London & Partners
- A range of training and skills initiatives
The 2016 London Games Festival takes place 1 April to 10 April, and will include 15 official events across 10 different venues in the capital. Highlights include:
- Now Play This (1 April - 3 April), a weekend festival of games and play at Somerset House, as part of Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility
- The brand-new Games Finance Market (5 April - 7 April), a first of its kind event that recreates the successful formula delivered by Film London in matching film finance to film projects during the London Film Festival. The Games Finance Market will connect interactive content talent with global investors and partners from across sectors
- A series of insightful LGF @ BFI talks (4 April) programmed and presented by London Games Festival in partnership with BFI Southbank
- The inclusion of already influential global events: British Academy Games Awards (7 April) and EGX Rezzed (7 April - 9 April)
- An inspiring cultural programme that helps change perceptions of video games and champions the medium as a cutting-edge art form - plus a London Games Fringe of alternative and exciting smaller events
Games London is being led by Michael French who was appointed in September 2015. French has been working in the games sector for 13 years as a journalist and publisher, building brands and events that support and grow the games industry. Partners include BAFTA, London & Partners, Gamer Events, Somerset House and the BFI.
Andy Payne, Chair of Games London and The London Games Festival, said: ‘London is the global capital of finance and can now be the global capital of digital creativity and interactive entertainment. The Creative Industries in the UK are world class, and the UK games industry is a key component of this winning sector. The London Games Festival with the financial backing of the LEP will shine the light on the UK’s talent pool and help the financial community understand the massive commercial and communal opportunities on show. For businesses of all sizes, access to finance is key, and The London Games Festival will deliver these opportunities.’
Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, said: ‘The UK is home to some of the best and most experienced games talent in the world and is already responsible for the most successful, innovative and creative global titles. This welcome backing from the Mayor of London for Games London will celebrate and highlight London as a key business hub for creativity and innovation in the UK, providing a crucial spotlight nationally and internationally to the games and interactive entertainment sector to those who may not realise what opportunities for investment there are in games. Games London will also celebrate and shift perceptions of games as a vital cultural medium, an important art form, and a key cultural industry.’
Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: ‘London’s games industry is a hotbed of creative talent with a huge amount of potential to expand and grow, and it’s this potential we’re looking to harness with Games London. For more than a decade Film London has been working with the city’s screen industries, helping companies and creatives secure finance, forge new business links and take their rightful place on the world stage. By partnering with Ukie and expanding our remit we hope to encourage investment, boost the city’s economy and help open up new pathways and business opportunities. This is a really exciting time, and I’m looking forward to helping cement London’s status as a world leader in games development in the same way we have for its film, television, animation and VFX sectors – all booming industries which share much with games in terms of immersive storytelling, unbridled creativity and technical innovation.’
More details about Games Festival will be announced soon. Further information can be found at games.london.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
As the key games trade network in the UK which lobbied for the video games tax relief (VGTR) and for the reinstatement of Computer Science on the curriculum, Ukie brings significant games industry expertise and relationships with businesses nationally and internationally to the partnership.
Film London have a proven track record of delivering successful programmes boosting the capital’s screen industries – film, television, animation, VFX and post-production. This work has included championing the capital’s expertise, creativity, infrastructure and generous Creative Sector Tax Reliefs, and this expertise will prove invaluable in raising the profile of the city’s games and interactive entertainment industry.
With the Games Tax Relief expected to create 2,000 jobs and generate £188m in extra investment for UK games studios over the next five years, the Film London/Ukie partnership aims to replicate the successes of the tax reliefs for film and high-end television. Since the Film Tax Relief was introduced in 2007, UK film production has increased by an estimated 75%, while the High-end Television Tax Relief increased spend by 87% in its first year.
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About the London Enterprise Panel
The London Enterprise Panel (LEP) is the local enterprise partnership for London. Chaired by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the LEP is the body through which the Mayoralty works with London’s boroughs, business and Transport for London to take a strategic view of the regeneration, employment and skills agenda for London. The LEP is responsible for overseeing the allocation of over £400m of funding to drive jobs and growth in the capital and provides strategic oversight of London’s €1.5 billion European Structural & Investment Funds programme.
About Film London
Film London is the capital’s screen industries agency. We connect ideas, talent and finance to develop a pioneering creative culture in the city that delivers success in film, television, animation, games and beyond.
We work to sustain, promote and develop London as a global content production hub, support the development of the city’s new and emerging filmmaking talent and invest in a diverse and rich film culture. Funded by the Mayor of London and the National Lottery through the BFI, we also receive support from Arts Council England and Creative Skillset.
Film London’s activities include:
Maintaining, strengthening and promoting London’s position as world-class city to attract investment through film, television, animation and games
Investing in local talent through a range of specialised production and training schemes
Boosting employment and competitiveness in the capital’s screen industries by delivering internationally facing business development events
Maximising access to the capital’s film culture by helping audiences discover film in all its diversity
Promoting London through screen tourism
Film London also manages the British Film Commission (www.britishfilmcommission.org.uk) through a public/private partnership which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the BFI and UK Trade & Investment
The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) exists to support, grow and promote the whole of the UK’s games and wider interactive entertainment industries. Ukie’s membership includes all the major UK and global games publishers and the best UK development talent - from promising start-ups to the biggest, most successful world-recognised studios operating in the UK today.
Ukie’s activity focuses on:
Working closely with government on issues surrounding our sector, including lobbying successfully for the 2014 Video Games Tax Relief, education and skills, age ratings, and protecting intellectual property rights
Securing the talent pipeline by committing to skills development in the industry, continuing through careers via the Digital Schoolhouse programme, our student membership, mentoring and professional development training programmes.
Promoting the industry by working with the media to raise awareness of the industry’s positive economic contribution and the societal benefits of games to policy makers, regulators and consumers.
An intense International Trade programme, running UK stands at the biggest international industry events and recruiting companies for overseas trade missions
Ukie commissioned the Blueprint for Growth report in 2015, an independent review of the UK games industry with recommendations for decision makers in Parliament for how the industry can grow by an additional £1bn annually.