Bank managers 'don't understand videogames industry'


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The Independent Tech

Bank managers fail to understand the videogame industry and many developers are giving up approaching them for money, according to the boss of a smartphone games company.

Oli Christie, the founder of mobile app developer Neon Play, believes bank funding to be "a tick-box exercise" and he has called on greater understanding and awareness of the industry.

He said: "Banks don't tend to have a category for videogames so it tends to be grouped as Other. Persuading banks of the worth of games is not easy and it is deterring many developers from trying."

Mr Christie, whose game Paper Glider became the 10 billionth download from the iTunes App Store, has also criticised the level of skills of many graduates saying too few students on gaming courses get a job in the industry.

In February this year, a report by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) found only 12 per cent of students from game-specific courses found a job in the industry within six months of graduating.

"It's no surprise when I see some of the CVs we are sent," Mr Christie adds. "It is very depressing. So many 3D artists have similar portfolios, for instance, and student developers come to us with prototype game - some just have a YouTube video concept. We'd expect them to at least have made a complete game."

He says it has made him reluctant to take people on long term contracts.

The industry as a whole is now pushing for changes to the education system to address concerns about skill shortages.

Gaming trade body UKIE announced its Next Gen Skills campaign on Monday campaigning for the introduction of an industry relevant Computer Science course within the framework of the National Curriculum.

It also wants to see a review of ICT in its current form and the promotion of the role that teaching maths, physics, art and computer science will play in ensuring the growth of UK’s digital, creative and hi-tech industries

Co-chair of the Next Gen Skills Campaign, Ian Livingstone said: “Next Gen Skills believes that not having computer science on the national curriculum is a risk to any UK business that has computing and technology at its core. This is as relevant to design, engineering, financial services and architecture, from the building of jet engines to protection against cybercrime, as it is to the digital creative industries.”