The government has said in Lord Carter's Digital Britain report that it will review evidence for providing tax relief to the UK games industry, as well as taking steps to improve the education offered to potential industry workers.
Referring to what it labelled "CGI, electronic games and simulation" the report said, "Each of these has the same capability as the more traditional sectors, such as film, to engage us and reflect our cultural particularism. They may in future have a cultural relevance to rival that of film. The Government has therefore committed to work with the industry to collect and review the evidence for a tax relief to promote the sustainable production for online or physical sale of culturally British video games.
This work will balance any potential support with the need for fair competition and ensure value for money for taxpayers." (our emboldening).
While that sounds promising, no firm course of action beyond the aforementioned review was outlined.
The claim is in response to what the report outlines as three key problems facing the UK games industry.
Firstly, the report acknowledges overseas competition from the likes of China and Korea, re-presenting the assertion that the UK will drop to fifth in the world rankings for game development this year.
The report also notes the inadequacy of the education system at producing graduates ready to work in games development.
Further to that, the report states, "Thirdly, there are few indigenous UK IP owners. Although the UK games development community is recognized for its ability to create original IP, most independent studios do not have access to adequate support in order to maintain ownership of this content, and have to relinquish often 100% of the IP rights to (mainly) non-UK publishers, in return for initial investment."
The government has a couple of other plans that it hopes will address the problems. It claims that it will work to improve development courses to give graduates "‘hard’ excellence in Science, Technology and Mathematical skills with the ‘softer’ excellence in business and creative skills".
Beyond that, the government is looking into creating a 'Usability Centre for Video Games'. It has already done a feasibility study on the subject, though further research is planned.
"The primary aim of such a Centre is to address issues around skills development offering graduates the work related training necessary to enable them to secure their first job in the industry and helping to bridge the current gap", the report states.
While it sounds like a step in the right direction, we await hard details beyond promises of reviews.
The other big games news to come out of the report is the government's decision about the future of UK ratings
You can read the report in full here