Fund 'would boost Scottish video games industry'

Man playing video game Tiga said the fund could help put Scotland on the global map as a centre for video games development

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The UK games industry has called on the Scottish government to establish a fund to boost the video games sector north of the border.

Games industry association Tiga has proposed a creative content fund (CCF) to encourage new studio production.

It also wants to stimulate the creation of new intellectual property.

Under the proposal, the CCF would provide funding of up to £100,000 to game developers and operate on a commercial basis.

Tiga said the measure could help put Scotland on the global map as a centre for video games development.

It claimed the country was losing out after the UK coalition government failed to introduce games tax relief, with investment and jobs going overseas to countries which have tax relief.

Tiga chief executive Richard Wilson said: "The Westminster coalition government is failing to invest in the Scottish and UK game development sector.

'Decisive leadership'

"The Scottish government now has the chance to show decisive leadership in support of the video games industry by adopting Tiga's proposal for a creative content fund.

"Tiga's proposed CCF would improve developers' access to finance, stimulate original IP (intellectual property) generation and promote studio growth.

"It would enhance the independence of developers and strengthen the prospects for the expansion of the Scottish video games industry."

He added: "In the long term it would establish Scotland as one of the best places in the UK to develop games. It would give a really powerful signal to the UK and global games industry that it's open for business."

The proposed CCF would make investment available on a matched-funding basis.

It would be entitled to recoup the money from recipients out of successful sales of the games once they had generated a certain amount of revenue and over an agreed time period, together with a defined share of the additional profits.

These profits could then be used to augment the CCF and be applied to future projects.

'Significant support'

The Scottish government said it already provided "significant support" for the games sector in Scotland, handing out more than £6.75m last year.

That figure included direct support to computer games companies from Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland.

A spokeswoman said: "We will continue to put pressure on the UK government to implement tax breaks, which we believe is the best way enhance the competitive edge of our computer games industry on the international stage.

"Giving Scotland control of these tax levers would be the best way of ensuring we support all our key industries."

A UK Treasury spokeswoman said the government was committed to making the UK "the best place to start, finance and grow a business" and making it an attractive location for innovative industries.

Labour MSP Jenny Marra has laid a motion at Holyrood calling on the Scottish government to find extra funds to boost the games sector.

She said: "There are games hubs across the UK, but a specific Scottish government fund would send a clear signal to industry that Scotland is not only open for business - but is the place for computer game developers to set up business."

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