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The Queen's Speech 2022 - what does it mean for video games businesses?

Four things for video games businesses to know about the 2022 Queen’s Speech 

The Queen’s Speech took place last week. It set out the Governments plans and priorities for the parliamentary year ahead, which included outlining some measures that will affect video games businesses in the coming years. 

The Speech, although recited by the Queen, is written by Ministers in Government and announces the proposed legislation they intend to introduce. This year’s Speech focused much on the Government’s key policy themes which included ‘levelling up’ and making use of supposed Brexit-related opportunities.  

Out of the 38 bills listed, four proved particularly relevant to the games sector. Let’s take a look at each bill and what it might mean for the industry. 

The Online Safety Bill

As expected, the speech included a reference to the Online Safety Bill which is currently progressing in parliament. The Bill seeks to introduce a new duty of care on online companies, making them responsible for protecting users and tackling illegal content. The bill has been passing through Parliament for a number of years but is expected to come into law in the coming year. 

What does it mean for games businesses?

Games companies that provide services online will need to consider their compliance with the bill, especially those that enable communication between users within games. Check out our guide on the bill, produced in partnership with Taso Advisory, here. 

Data Reform Bill

Since the EU referendum, Ukie has consistently stressed the importance of securing a data adequacy agreement to maintain the free flow of data between the UK and the EU. Fortunately, this agreement was reached last year but one Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech may threaten this once more. The Data Reform Bill intends to create a new domestic data regime in the UK by reforming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), meaning potential divergence from EU territories.  

What does it mean for games businesses?

If the UK were to move too far from the principles of GDPR, this data adequacy decision may be again at risk and threaten added red tape for businesses. We will continue to monitor the bill’s progress and update our membership on any risks of divergence as it happens. 

The Draft Digital Markets, Consumer and Competition Bill

This Bill continues the theme of the Government seeking to position themselves as protecting consumers in the face of “Big Tech”. The Bill will provide the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with powers to protect consumers from fake or misleading reviews and prevent subscription traps. Businesses will be required to provide clear information to consumers and send reminders before a contract auto-renews. The Government will also create a new regime for digital markets, regulated by the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), which will have the role of boosting competition and limiting entrenched market power. 

What does it mean for games businesses?

While the bill has mostly been aimed at businesses outside of the games industry, it touches a couple of relevant areas. The measure aimed at preventing fake reviews misleading reviews is mostly directed at fraudulent paid for reviews designed to skew perceptions but could cover misleading reviews in general. The guidance around subscription best practises is something else for businesses to consider. 

The Media Bill

And finally, the Government will update the public broadcasting framework to better reflect the delivery of public service broadcasting through digital platforms, including the privatisation and restructuring of Channel 4. It will also provide Ofcom with new powers to tighten the regulation of video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

What does it mean for games businesses?

While less directly relevant to games businesses, The Media Bill gives an interesting indication of the Government’s direction of travel in regards to public funding, generating competition in the digital economy and attitudes to big tech. 

Have any questions about the Queen’s Speech or other policy issues? Contact the Ukie policy team here.