18 October 2017 - London, United Kingdom
-Trade body’s biennial Westminster Games Day sees Parliamentarians turn out for a day of education and lobbying for the needs of the games sector
-Events included Data Breakfast, Innovation Showcase, Skills Panel, and Ukie’s annual Westminster Games Reception
-Industry supporters on the day include Activison Blizzard, Ubisoft, King, EA, SEGA, and The All Party Parliamentary Group for Video Games
-Minister for Digital Matt Hancock MP calls sector a ‘force for good’ in keynote speech at VIP evening reception
On Monday 16 October, Ukie hosted the second biennial Westminster Games Day in Parliament, in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Video Games, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, SEGA, EA and King. Some 24 MPs and peers, and over 100 officials and researchers from Parliament attended a programme of activity across the day, designed to showcase the global success of the UK games industry and influence decision makers in Parliament to the needs of the growing sector.
Building on our political activity over the past 12 months the day saw games industry leaders take over the Palace of Westminster to educate and inform about games industry’s position at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, leading advances in virtual and augmented reality and delivering practical application of artificial intelligence and data.
Ukie’s Westminster Games Day’s series of events focussed on different issues that face the sector. The day opened with a breakfast roundtable in partnership with King focussing on data chaired by Darren Jones MP. This session addressed the crucial role data plays in driving innovation in the UK’s app economy and outlined how it is vital that the frictionless flow of data between the UK and EU is maintained and the UK Government continues to support the sector.
A Lunchtime Innovation Showcase followed. MPs and Peers were invited to a drop-in session at Portcullis House, where top names in UK games showcased innovation and diversity in products created across the country. In partnership with SEGA and EA the showcase featured the winners of the 2017 Student Games Jam from NFTS, Roll7, State of Play Games, UsTwo Games, Wibbu, Digital Schoolhouse and games charity SpecialEffect demonstrating some of the most innovative games and technology from the UK industry.
The afternoon saw a panel discussion chaired by London’s new Chief Digital Officer Theo Blackwell. The panellists included leading figures from SEGA, Ubisoft, Creative Assembly and Digital Schoolhouse who discussed the skills, education and talent landscape for the games industry, the industry’s approach to securing the future for the UK as a global games leader and the Government policies which would support this ambition.
The day culminated with Ukie’s annual Westminster Games Reception at 8 Northumberland Avenue, where Digital Minister the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP delivered a keynote speech to an audience of over 200 MPs, Ukie members and key sector stakeholders.
The day follow the successful first edition of the Westminster Games Day in 2015 and comes at a crucial time for the games industry, with a general election recently behind us, an Industrial Strategy in development, Brexit negotiations seemingly stalling and a Budget just around the corner.
Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said: “It has never been more important than now for Ukie to be acting as a strong voice to Westminster and ramping up our policy and lobbying work. The high turnout of MPs, peers and Parliamentary officials across the day shows the recognition by Westminster that the UK games industry is a force for good in the UK’s economy, our digital and creative industries, and our cultural identities, and we’re proud to have been able to bring the best of the sector to Parliament for a day of education, lobbying and networking.”
In his keynote speech at the evening VIP reception, Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock MP noted that the sector is a ‘force for good’, adding afterwards, “The intersection of cutting edge technology and inspiring art is critical to Britain’s prosperity in the twenty-first century, and video games are right at the forefront of this, driving innovation and bringing together the best creative and technical minds.”
“We are committed to supporting the UK games industry and will continue to work with Ukie to guarantee that video games remain a major economic and cultural force.”
Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health and Co-Chair of the Video Games APPG, said: “The UK games industry is one of the most inspiring, creative, and cutting-edge sectors in the economy. It is an industry that offers so much potential to create growth and skilled jobs all across the country.”
“Westminster Games Day this year brought that industry to the heart of Parliament for us to hear directly from them about the challenges and opportunities they face, raising some big issues around skills, talent and immigration, Brexit, Data and innovation. It was a great day and a hugely successful way for the industry to raise its profile in Parliament and beyond.”
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Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment) is the only trade body for the UK's games and interactive entertainment industry. A not-for-profit, it represents businesses of all sizes from small start-ups to large multinational developers, publishers and service companies, working across online, mobile apps, consoles, PC, eSports, VR and AR.
Ukie aims to support, grow and promote member businesses and the wider UK games and interactive entertainment industry by optimising the economic, cultural, political and social environment needed for businesses to thrive.
Ukie works closely with the sector to influence government and decision makers, lobbying successfully for the 2014 Video Games Tax Relief, the UK Games Fund, and the Next Gen Skills campaign which resulted in a new Computer Science Curriculum. Ukie makes connections for businesses and help them access the opportunities a digital economy offers, via a successful International Trade programme, running UK Games Industry stands at the biggest international industry events.
It promotes the industry by working with the media to raise awareness of the sector’s positive cultural and economic contribution, as well as the societal benefits of games. Ukie runs askaboutgames.com, where families can learn about safe and sensible online practices, parental controls and age ratings.
Ukie’s skills work serves to increase inclusion and diversity, advocating a STEAM approach to education. Initiatives include the Digital Schoolhouse (DSH), Video Games Ambassadors (VGAs), a Student Membership scheme, and a professional development programme.
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.
In 2016 Ukie partnered with Film London to deliver Games London, a ground breaking new three-year programme to promote the UK as the games capital of the world, the focal point of which is the annual London Games Festival.