BGI launches change.org petition

Following the release of our new campaign, the BGI team has launched a change.org petition asking the games sector to back the call by over 500 games, investment, arts and educational leaders to fund the BGI’s programmes.

Sign the petition!

We owe a special thank you to Will Barr at Billygoat in Belfast for sharing this lovely image of Big Ben taking off from their wonderful, irreverent and classically British game – Her Majesty’s Spiffing (PS4, XBox One and Steam, iOS and Android). Watch the trailer here.

 

Build up to launch

The BGI team is head down preparing for launching the national campaign to persuade government to fund a new national agency for games culture. A wide ranging, industry-led social and national media campaign is planned with the help of the lovely Propeller PR people and lots of influential games figures. It’s been pretty exhausting for the 2 volunteers running this campaign for the last 9 months but sector support has been phenomenal. Watch this space!

Tons of artwork for the BGI site received

The BGI team would like to thank the 56 studios that have kindly sent in game art for us to showcase on the new site. Props to:

Rebellion, Ninja Theory, Playniac, Nellyvision, Future Games of London, nDreams, Supermassive Games, First Touch Games, Evil Twin Artworks, Denki, Roll7, Outplay Entertainment, Gram Games, AppyNation, Yakuto, Ripstone, Tikipod, Interactionman, Hutch, Neonplay, Tableflip Games, Dream Harvest Games, Viewpoint Games, Turbulenz, Midoki, A Collection of Bits, Superpunk, Splendy, Bitmap Bureau, Quantum Soup, Shortround Games, Dopamine, The Game Creators, The Secret Police, Greenfly Studios, Steve Ince, AdLiberum Games, Another Place Productions, Modern Dream, Brightrock Games, Wales Interactive, MuHa Games, Playsport Games, Triangular Pixels, Playrise Games, Betajester, Altered Gene, Pete Ainsworth, Execution Unit, Crashlab, Billygoat, Grey Alien Games, Shark Bowl Games, Spilt Milk Studios and Automaton.

No better indication of the range of British games talent!

BGI referenced in the Bazalgette review

The BGI team is delighted to read that the BGI initiative has been referenced in the Bazalgette review of the Creative Industries on behalf of the DCMS.

There is an ongoing discussion in the industry about supporting the creation of British intellectual property in this field and recognising games as a cultural and artistic force in society. Initiatives such as the BAFTA Games Awards and awareness raising by trade bodies Ukie and TIGA and others have helped our understanding of the economic and cultural value – and further potential – of the sector. More recently a number of figures in the industry have proposed an equivalent of the BFI for video games, to promote British games and deliver targeted support. Certainly in the longer term, government should take a more strategic approach to fostering growth in the video games industry and highlighting its cultural impacts.

You can read the Review in full here

Congratulations to UK Games Fund

The BGI team extend our warm congratulations to the UK Games Finance and Talent CIC for getting such a firm recommendation for more funding for their programmes. We have been fighting for greater funding and recognition for the games sector and welcome this call for historic levels of new funding for games through this excellent scheme. If government delivers such funding, this will be a great win for the games sector and we look forward to hearing more about the nature and structure of this funding in due course.

BGI submission goes into the Treasury

It’s in! The 80 page proposal describing in detail the support, rationale, programmes, costs and monitoring of the proposed British Games Institute was submitted to the Treasury. We want to again thank the nearly 100 organisations that have met with us throughout the consultation for their feedback and constructive approach towards the proposal. Now we wait and see how civil servants respond.

Consultation finishes

The BGI has completed the final working group meeting of this phase of the consultation. Following advice from Ukie and TIGA, the BGI team has conducted a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders across the industry to assess whether the plans were fit for purpose. These consultations have triggered substantial changes to the BGI’s programmes as first proposed. The consultation has comprised:

Continue conference: Round table discussion introducing BGI to arts organisations at the National Videogame Foundation’s arts meets games conference.

Develop conference: Q&A with Rick Gibson, Ian Livingstone, Richard Wilson and Jo Twist attended by 75-100 developers. Read MCV’s take here

Online consultation: A public consultation ran online, with a small number of responses. Read people’s comments here

British Council consultation roundtable: A round table with Rick Gibson describing and taking questions in detail about current plans and discussing issues with 20 games, arts, education and investment stakeholders.

Skills working group: A group of education, university, games employers and trade bodies debated and amended the skills programme.

Finance working group: A group of investors, angels, mentors, games funds and trade bodies debated and amended the Finance programme.

Culture working group: A group of arts organisations and cultural games developers debated and substantially changed the culture programme.

Strategy working group: A group of trade bodies, studios and angels discussed how to deliver the BGI proposal.

Bilateral meetings: Rick Gibson and Ian Livingstone have met an additional 75 organisations to get feedback on the proposal.

We want to thank over 100 different organisations for collaborating with BGI and helping us get the proposal into shape for submission.

Working groups are meeting

 

The BGI team is hard at work organising and running working groups in 4 areas (finance, culture, skills and strategy) with nearly 30 different organisations, following on from a round table organised by British Council and Ukie. We would like to thank British Council, Ukie and Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe for hosting these events, as well as the attendees for adding their detailed feedback on the proposals.

 

NESTA backs call for Government investment in games

Read Hasan Bakhshi’s excellent blog post on strong cultural reasons for governments to invest in games.

Hasan analyses the DCMS’s Taking Part survey and finds that UK gamers are more likely to engage in cultural activity than UK non-gamers, in particular “more likely to read, paint, attend performing arts and visit heritage sites and libraries”.

Hasan agrees that policymakers “have been slow to wake up to the significance of video games” as a cultural products.

No surprise then that the DCMS dropped video games from the Taking Part survey, which is an annual survey of the cultural activities undertaken by British people.

Why do we still have to argue that games are cultural products?

Time for a change. Time for the BGI.