The BGI story

Timeline for the BGI

The BGI was founded by games industry veterans with years of experience leading pioneering campaigns on Video Games Tax Relief and games education.

May 2007 Rick Gibson tables proposal for Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) to government in Playing for Keeps report for UKTI / DTI

Nov 2007 – Rick Gibson founds Games Up? with Ian Livingstone CBE and 25 UK games studios that campaigns for VGTR, producing first ever industry census, economic impact and export value reports

February 2011 – Ian Livingstone CBE co-authors Next Gen, a report into UK games and VFX education for DCMS

March 2012 – UK Government adopts VGTR, submitting proposals to European Commission on the same grounds as Games Up? Campaign

March 2014 – European Commission approves VGTR and HMRC starts accepting claims

Jan 2017 – BGI campaign to create a new charity for games culture, skills, diversity and finance launched by Rick Gibson and Ian Livingstone CBE

March 2017 – Campaign wins support from over 560 organisations

Summer 2017Consultation with 110 organisations

September 2017 – Formal proposal to the Treasury

November 2017Petition to found the BGI reaches 10,000

January 2018 – BGI campaign Advisory Board forms

February 2018  – BGI campaign Advisory Board announces merger discussions with the National Videogame Foundation

March 2018  – BGI campaign Advisory Board votes to merge with NVF, appoint new NVF CEO and begin charity registration

April 2018 – BGI campaign Advisory Board expands

June 2018 – BGI campaign Advisory Board expands again to 29 individuals

October 2018 – National Videogame Arcade rebrands as National Videogame Museum and announces move to Sheffield

November 2018 – NVM opens to public

February 2019 – Proposed Trustees of the BGI CIO meet, agree governance and structure

March 2019 – Games Education Summit 2019 is announced

April 2019 – BGI’s first careers course on FutureLearn is announced

May 2019 – BGI announces a games heritage preservation initiative in collaboration with Bath Spa and Ritsumeikan Universities

May 2019BGI becomes a charity with the Registered Charity Number 1183530

November 2019 – BGI completes its first year in Sheffield, celebrating 35,000 visitors

December 2019– BGI strengthens board with 4 new trustees

January 2020 – BGI completes acquisition of the National Videogame Museum, its collection, staff and all programmes which transfer seamlessly to the charity

February 2020 – NVM breaks visitor records three days in a row during half-term

February 2020 – BGI launches the Videogame Heritage Society, its Subject Specialist Network

March 2020 – Covid-19 virus forces charity to close the Museum to protect the public and staff

March 2020Emergency fundraising campaign begins which eventually raises over £200,000, which sustains the charity during 5 months of almost no income

March 2020 – BGI launches NVM at Home programme with educational materials and livestreaming which is eventually watched by several thousand people and nominated for a Kids in Museums award

June 2020 – BGI wins support from Art Fund to develop the Videogame Heritage Society

August 2020 – the BGI wins an Esmee Fairbairn and Museums Association grant to document the lockdown experiences of players of the cultural phenomenon, Animal Crossing

August 2020 – the National Videogame Museum reopens with Covid-secure exhibitions and dramatically reduced capacity

August 2020 – BGI submits critical bid to Arts Council of England for the Culture Recovery Fund

September 2020 – BGI runs the Games Education Virtual Summit with 40 speakers including educators, studios, students, interns and 3rd sector organisations

October 2020 – BGI is awarded an Art Fund Respond and Reimagine grant to create an online videogame gallery

October 2020 – BGI is awarded a Culture Recovery Fund grant by Arts Council of England which ensures that the National Videogame Museum and BGI will outlast the second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic

October 2020 – The National Videogame Museum wins a Kids In Museums award for Best Website activity in their Family Friendly Museum Awards From Home.

December 2020 – NVM featured in the Yogscast’s Jingle Jam

March 2021DCMS Minister opens third Games Education Summit

April 2021Games Careers Week launches and reaches 37,000 in inaugural year, co-founded by BGI, INto Games and Grads in Games with support from Ukie, TIGA, Women in Games and Next Gen Skills Academy

July 2021 – BGI wins UKRI/AHRC grant to create games with sanctuary-seeking community and games artists Biome Collective in Sheffield, and Paul Hamlyn Trust grant to create new games curricula for schools in disadvantaged areas of Sheffield and South Yorkshire

August 2021 – BGI wins Ufi Voctech grant to train young women of colour how to make games

October 2021 – BGI runs GameCity Adventures festival in Sheffield

December 2021 – BGI announces new strategy to transform lives with games and Christmas appeal to launch voucher scheme for disadvantaged families

April 2022 – National Lottery Heritage Fund awards a significant grant to BGI to redesign THe NVM’s visitor experience in concert witth community organisations in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Chesterfield.

Support for the BGI campaign

The UK games industry ticks all the Industrial Strategy’s boxes: it’s high growth, high tech, truly nationwide and is already world-class with highly transferable skills. Yet the games industry faces significant challenges in access to finance, cultural recognition and skills shortages. After reviewing the BGI proposals, I believe the best way to address these challenges is a new national agency. Funding the BGI would be a statement of strategic intent by the government to back this key creative sector and I’m delighted to support it. Ed Vaizey MP, former Minister of State, Digital and Culture, DCMS

TIGA stands for games developers and digital publishers and our objective is to strengthen the games industry. We should introduce a British Games Institute to drive the sector forward. We would welcome the BGI implementing TIGA’s long standing proposal for a Games Investment Fund, increasing productivity in the industry by working with leading universities – particularly TIGA Accredited universities – to promote best practice, and promoting British games culture with new games festivals around the UK. Dr Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA

I’m very excited about the idea of the BGI. An august, sophisticated and grand institution, that does practical things, is long overdue for the rapidly growing and highly successful computer games industry.  Other areas of the creative industries have this kind of valued structure. I am looking forward to working closely with the BGI, both as chair of TIGA, and as CEO of Rebellion, and helping to build on the success story that is the British Games Industry. Jason Kingsley OBE, CEO, Rebellion, and Chairman, TIGA

The UK has a rich, 40 year history in games but, unlike other creative industries, we have had little public funding to support our games culture.  A specialist national games agency would bring focus and turbo charge the UK’s vibrant video games sector both commercially and culturally to reach even greater heights. The British Games Institute is that organisation. I really hope it is created. Andy Payne OBE, CEO, AppyNation and Chairman of the British Esports Association

Helping young talent take part in the thriving games industry will promote modern culture and benefit the economy. BGI should be a priority for the UK government. Frank Sagnier, CEO, Codemasters

The BGI represents a fantastic opportunity for the games industry to speak with a single, powerful and full industry-supported voice. This clarity and focus will open new opportunities to the benefit of the UK Games industry as a whole. Philip & Andrew Oliver, representing the Made in Creative UK Campaign.

This is an idea whose time has come. These are exciting and challenging days for the UK games industry and having the BGI to co-ordinate, support and augment the good work being done by so many different organisations will be of enormous value. Paul Gardner, Wiggin LLP

I fully support the proposal for the BGI. A new national agency with a remit to support the video games industry will help provide funding and skilled talent for UK games studios, and will also champion the culture and economic contribution of British games to the public. Carl Cavers, CEO, Sumo-Digital