George Osborne has pledged up to £8 million in funding for the UK video game industry in a bid to encourage emerging development talent.
The chancellor announced £4 million would be spent on reviving the Prototype Fund over the next four years, granting start-up gaming studios access to finance.
A further £4 million will be pumped into the Skills Investment Fund – a match-funding scheme aiding training in games and other creative sectors – over the next two years.
The pre-election Budget announcements have been welcomed by the video game sector's two trade bodies Ukie and TIGA, both of which are claiming victory.
In a blog post written after the announcement, Ukie CEO Jo Twist said the measures would “help make the UK the best place in the world to make and sell games.”
She claims the previous Prototype Fund which ran between 2010 and 2014 enabled more than 70 companies to get their first game made, and said it was the reason Ukie had called for a new version of it in letters written to the Chancellor, prior to last year's Autumn Statement and this year's Budget.
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said his organisation had also been campaigning for its revival, calling the announcement “a great day for the UK video games development and digital publishing sector.”
He added: “TIGA applauds the new support promised by the Chancellor in the Budget for the UK video games sector. TIGA’s top priority has been the achievement of a new Prototype Fund and it also called for the maintenance of the Skills Investment Fund.
“TIGA will continue to advance our creative and dynamic agenda to strengthen the video games development and digital publishing sector in the run up to the General Election in 2015 and beyond.”
The industry was granted tax relief in the 2012 Budget in a bid to turn Britain into Europe's technology centre.
Dr Twist said the Prototype Fund would have a real impact in maximising the effectiveness of tax relief “by giving more people with great ideas for games the chance to get established as a company, start building their portfolio, and make the best possible offer to potential investors.”
She added: “This will have a significant multiplier effect, which is why we have been calling so strongly for it.”
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