National Videogame Foundation to merge with BGI

Nottingham, 21 February: The National Videogame Foundation, including the National Videogame Arcade, is merging with the BGI.

The BGI is a new national games agency supported by games trade bodies TIGA and Ukie, and over 500 games, investment, arts and education organisations. The BGI has been designed to raise new funds for games initiatives from public and private sources to achieve four key objectives:

  1. To encourage the development of the art, science and technology of games throughout the UK;
  2. To research and promote games’ impact on and reflection of British culture;
  3. To gather and share the artistic, technical and commercial expertise in games production;
  4. To promote and increase diversity and inclusion in the UK games sector.

The combined organisation will continue to deliver the Foundation’s existing programme of games cultural projects, including the Arcade, its research, its educational and other projects, within the BGI’s Culture Programme. The NVF’s Iain Simons will become the BGI’s Culture Director, working with the BGI’s CEO Rick Gibson. The BGI will be headquartered inside the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham.

The BGI works in collaboration with a wide range of partners to put the UK games sector at the heart of Britain’s cultural and digital agenda. The NVF is a non-profit organisation funded by the public and receives grants from the Arts Council of England, the British Council, British Academy and Creative Scotland amongst other public funding sources. The BGI is independently governed and will not be funded by company membership fees.

Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome Iain and his outstanding team into the BGI. Apart from running the finest playable museum in the country, Iain and his colleagues have an unparalleled track record in games culture. They have produced the Gamecity Festival since 2006 and publish world-leading academic research into the interpretation and curation of games. They are also deeply embedded in the national and international network of arts and research organisations interested in funding digital culture. We know they will turbo-charge the BGI towards ambitious new programmes in collaboration with the best games and arts initiatives countrywide.”

Iain Simons, Culture Director of the BGI, said: “By joining the BGI, we are building the national centre of gravity for games culture that our sector vitally needs. We have a proud record at the NVA, having welcomed over 100,000 visitors to our museum in the Midlands. The NVA teaches thousands of children via hundreds of school visits about how games are made and what they mean. We also work with parents, schools, universities, arts bodies and games studios on a growing range of initiatives. Our young persons’ programme Pixelheads is rolling out into scores of schools and arts centres this year to teach kids and families about games as cultural products to be appreciated in their own right, while helping children and their parents identify career paths into games.”

Ian Livingstone CBE, Chairman of the BGI, said: “I’ve been involved with the NVF for many years as a big fan and supporter of their work. I co-founded the BGI with Rick Gibson in 2016, and I’m delighted that the BGI and NVF are coming together to form a new organisation that champions the UK video games industry’s impact as an art form and its contribution to the UK economy. There needs to be greater understanding of the investment and career opportunities in what is now the largest entertainment industry in the world with global revenues exceeding $100 Billion per annum. I believe the BGI will extend the industry’s cultural reach, help increase levels of investment, and win new funds for games culture, skills and production which our studios need to remain world-class.”

2 great British games studios find safe harbour

Congratulations to the Oliver brothers and Radiant Worlds for finding a new home inside Rebellion. The highly experienced studio and its founders are strong supporters of the BGI campaign. Read about the new Rebellion Warwick studio here.

Also, we were relieved to hear that Sumo Digital stepped in to save CCP Newcastle from being closed down. Fantastic news for the North East.


Congratulations to Richard Wilson OBE and Sumo Digital

The BGI team is delighted to report news about 2 key supporters of the BGI campaign.

Richard Wilson was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List – many congratulations!

Sumo Digital successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange and we offer our congratulations to Carl Cavers and the team on taking another British games business into the City and educating them on the massive potential of our sector.

The BGI campaign responds to the 2017 Budget

The Autumn Budget contains mixed messages for the creative sectors. It signalled an extension to the UK Games Fund, but for just one additional year, more generous EIS tax relief which is great news to investors, an increase in Research and Development tax credits which many games studios will utilise, and an initiative around “immersive technology for creative content”. There is also a commitment to help creative sectors access growth funding, although how this will function has yet to be revealed. There is little detail on a sector deal for the Creative Sector, but the government plans on releasing an Industrial Strategy White paper on Monday 27th November which will give more information.

The BGI campaign team is naturally disappointed that there is no mention of the BGI initiative in this Budget. We hope the White Paper will contain more ambitious plans for supporting the Creative Sectors and more specifically the games development sector which is growing at nearly 5 times the rate of the UK economy. We face some intractable problems which have been solved in other UK and European sectors through strategic public funding and generated significant returns on investment.

Irrespective of the White Paper’s recommendations, this is just the start of the BGI campaign, which will continue until the BGI is funded. The team behind the BGI has long experience in originating and lobbying for ambitious projects, such as Video Games Tax Relief, that faced obstacles but went on to win government support and have massive impact on our sector.

The BGI has received unprecedentedly wide support from games and other stakeholders as well as 10,000 members of the public plus a growing number of MPs. It is an ambitious strategic initiative featuring significant private sector co-investment that addresses the heart of the Industrial Strategy’s search for schemes from nationwide knowledge economy sectors with global scale and massive growth potential.

The BGI team has started a dialogue with Government and has been invited to continue that dialogue post-Budget. We look forward to discussing how to deliver its strategic objectives and found a new agency for games culture in the UK.

Chris White joins BGI team as Chair of the Policy Committee

The BGI team is proud to announce that Chris White, the former MP for Warwick and Leamington, has joined the campaign to support the founding of the BGI. Chris is a long-time supporter of the games industry who fought hard for the sector in Parliament, including helping the sector to win Video Games Tax Relief, and chaired the All Party Group on Video Games. Chris will chair the new Policy Committee advising the BGI on policy issues. Chris released a statement today:

I’m delighted to be appointed to Chair the BGI Policy Committee. This is a very timely initiative and we will be working hard to gain support for this sector, which is playing an increasingly important role in our economy.

Michael Denny from Sony backs the BGI

The BGI received more formal support today, this time from Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Michael Denny, who released this quote:

Britain has always fostered great creative talent which has consistently led to the development of innovative and ground breaking games over the last 25 years. Not only do British creatives and development teams contribute to British culture, but they also compete on a global stage. I believe that having a publicly funded agency to champion the games industry and games culture at the highest level in this country would be a very positive development. Michael Denny, Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Many thanks Michael and Sony for your support

Double page spread in the Times

We’re delighted that the British Games Institute is in the Times today, with a double page spread no less. We always enjoy sharing the fact that Angry Birds was the result of far-sighted Finnish government investment in Rovio.

Read it here

ps Keep an eye out for an update about some friendly, seriously massive YouTubers doing something special for the BGI!