Who we are
UKIE is the trade association that represents the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry. UKIE’s membership includes games publishers, developers and the academic institutions that support the industry.
We represent the majority of the UK video games industry: in 2011 UKIE members were responsible for 96% of the games sold as physical products in the UK and UKIE is the only trade body in the UK to represent all the major console manufacturers (Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony).
The interactive entertainment sector is one of the UK’s leading creative industries:
- 1 in 3 people in the UK now play some form of interactive entertainment.
- The value of the boxed video games retail market was £2.52 billion in 2011.
- The global games industry is predicated to grow 10.6% between 2010 and 2014 – faster than film, music and TV
The interactive entertainment industry leads the way in having a diverse range of online and offline business models: from free to play apps to blockbuster, boxed products.
UKIE wants to make the UK the best place to develop and publish games and interactive entertainment.
To achieve this goal we’ve focused our work around four key pillars – outlined below. Each pillar is run via a Board member-chaired Steering Group. We also have sub-groups formed to achieve particular objectives, so if you’d like to be involved in any
UKIE’s Commercial Pillar focuses on delivering commercial value for our members through access to unique sales information, networking opportunities, commercial partnerships and member discounts. We are committed to offering our members more events and to building on our ownership of the official UKIE Games Charts by delivering more research to members.
Our Commercial Pillar also looks at how we can create the best possible business environment for our members. That’s why we actively lobby government to recognise that access to finance is a key barrier to growing the interactive entertainment industry in the UK.
UKIE still supports the call for industry specific tax breaks but we’re also looking at other innovative ways to help make the UK the best place in the world to create interactive entertainment. This includes: looking at the perception amongst MPs and investors that interactive entertainment businesses are risky investments; how else the UK’s tax regime can be improved; and how the government can best measure the size and potential of our industry and therefore devote the necessary resources to it. We’ve been working with respected think-tank DEMOS to look at these issues and shall be making sure that government considers them before the next budget.
As well as lobbying government to improve future legislation we want our members to be able to take full advantage of any current funding and benefits that are available. That’s why we have partnered with R&D tax specialists Jumpstart. The current R&D tax credit scheme offers interactive entertainment businesses potentially big returns on their overall spend. As a result of our partnership with Jumpstart, our members can get discounted access to their unrivalled expertise and advice.
Education and Skills
UKIE is committed to ensuring that the next generation are equipped with the right skills needed for your businesses to grow. That’s why we’re leading on delivering the recommendations from the ‘Next Gen’ Livingstone Hope Skills Review.
One of the review’s main findings is that computer coding, the most important skill required to create the digital devices and software of the future, is not currently on the national curriculum.
The Livingstone Hope review also found that the current ICT curriculum focuses on using existing software packages and not creating them and highlighted the creative potential of better combining art and science in schools.
The skills gap highlighted by the report is a threat to all hi-tech and creative industries. UKIE has therefore taken the lead in forming a coalition of organisations that share these goals to collectively lobby government on these crucial issues.
The Next Gen Skills coalition already includes: UKIE and its members, UK Screen, NESTA, Intellect, Google, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, Abertay University, Blitz Games, the British Computing Society and others. And UKIE is already engaging with the relevant government officials and meeting MPs to gain their support.
The Livingstone Hope report also called for the games industry, rather than government, to implement many of the recommendations and UKIE has also taken the lead here. Much has been achieved, including the creation of a Video Games Ambassadors’ programme, to enable representatives from our industry to go into schools and talk to students. UKIE has also worked with the BAFTA Young Games Designer and to Be Digital competitions, to promote our industry to a wider young audience.
Intellectual Property (IP) theft continues to be a threat to our members’ businesses and our Intellectual Property Crime Unit (IPCU) team is committed to tracking down criminals who steal our members’ content. Our IPCU team now undertake online investigations as well as having a team on the ground working closely with Trading Standards and the Police (you may well have seen some of the team in the BBC’s Fake Britain programme shown earlier last year).
This year the IPCU team have conducted 111 investigations and 67 raids on criminals that trade in illegal software and hardware – online and offline. They have also been responding to members’ requests to take down links to illegal digital copies of their products.
UKIE also believes that IP theft can be tackled by educating the public about intellectual property. We are therefore working with other creative industries to see how we can best educate the public about where they can get content by legal means and the many interactive entertainment business models that they have access to.
UKIE is committed to making sure that our IP enforcement measures are fit for our fast evolving industry. We are therefore at the forefront of high level policy discussions to determine how best to protect our members’ IP in the online space. This includes discussions about site blocking and the Digital Economy Act. UKIE also continues to work with the Alliance Against IP Theft.
Health, Wellbeing and Social Responsibility
Interactive entertainment is now a leading cultural activity, enjoyed by millions of people in the UK. It’s therefore never been more important for UKIE to act as a public information resource, to help consumers and the media better understand these benefits and the industry’s commitment to consumer safety and responsible practice.
In the last year UKIE has been at the forefront of defending our members’ interests and promoting our safe and sensible gaming messages in the press. We have appeared in most national media outlets, in print, on TV and radio and online and shall continue to be active in all national, local and games trade media, promoting the industry and dispelling the myths that still sometimes exist around it.
We have also been promoting the lead consumer safety role that the industry plays to government. This has included producing a consumer safety policy paper, outlining our commitment to parental controls, age ratings and consumer communications. UKIE also continues to be a lead voice at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).
PEGI is now due to be implemented as the sole age rating system for games in the UK early next year. The delays in its implementation have been frustrating but UKIE has continued to work hard behind the scenes to make sure that the labelling regulations deliver what the industry needs. These regulations now need to be approved by the European Parliament and then the House of Commons before they become law in the UK. This process should be complete in the early part of 2012. UKIE will be coordinating a PEGI public awareness campaign in the run-up to implementation as well as briefing the wider industry.