UK politics and games

When I was at Codemasters I was a member of the Games Industry Forum, a pan industry talking shop that met regularly under the aegis of the DTI in London. It always seemed strange to me that the government department responsible for games was the department of trade and industry (DTI) whilst film and music were dealt with by the department of culture, media and sport (DCMS). I suppose it is just as silly as the BBC handling games in their technology department, not their entertainment department.

At one of the forum meetings I put forward the idea of setting up a Games Council, just like there are a Film Council and a Music Council. What I was seeking was a broader public cultural role for our industry. Obviously my idea was talked down by the civil servants. It would have cost public money. If film and music get public money then why shouldn’t games? But the real killer was ELSPA, they totally rubbished the idea, obviously worried about retaining their pre eminent position representing the UK industry. So it didn’t happen. Not because it wouldn’t have been a good thing, but because of petty entrenched  narrow interests. 

Fast forward to today and we find that the industry is after money from the government again. Like the UK film industry gets. Or like the illegal (WTO rules) subsidies the games industry gets in Canada and (possibly illegal) France. All trade subsidies are silly, especially the ones given to farmers, so I have no sympathy with what our industry is seeking. I think we would be far better off using the law to stop subsidies elsewhere.

Meanwhile the industry still doesn’t have what it really needs. An organisation to broaden the cultural appeal of games. Luckily Nintendo is now doing the job for them.

So does your job rely on taxpayers money being spent on you?

1 Comment

  1. Hi Bruce, I think it does make sense that in this case, representing the industry, it was put under a trade and economy section. And to become part of culture, I think we need the current generation of adults become part of the éstablishment’ to give Culture an insight from the games perspective as well.

    We are relatively so young in the culture part (especially against music, but also compared against film) that it will take a little more time to get there, but I am sure we will.

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