UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Jim Murphy Welcomes Multi-Million Pound Investment in Video Games Centres of Excellence in Dundee And Manchester.

Press Release   •   Dec 07, 2009 11:56 GMT

Scotland’s video game industry will be given a welcome boost today with a £2.5 million investment for Dundee from the UK Government’s Strategic Investment Fund – established to back business in new growth sectors. A total of £3.5 million investment was announced for linked centres of excellence in Dundee and Manchester as part of the Government’s commitment to maintaining the UK’s global reputation in the growing video games industry.

The new complementary specialist facilities in Abertay University, Dundee and Media City UK, Manchester will drive creativity, innovation, product development and skills in the industry. Building on the UK’s global reputation they will help ensure that UK firms are best-placed to exploit the growing multi-billion pound global market.

In the first three years, the coordinated project aims to create 30 new companies, assist 80 others, stimulate 400 new jobs and build the skills of a further 300 workers. Businesses from right across the UK will be able to benefit from the two centres of excellence, including funding for prototyping.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Abertay University today, Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said: “This is a great day for the games industry and really good news for Dundee. Dundee has always been a city of innovation and has a well-earned reputation as the heartland of Scotland’s gaming industry. This investment now confirms Dundee as one of the key centres in the UK as well, and will allow Abertay University to grow Scotland’s international reputation for its talents in video games creation.”

The new Abertay prototyping studio and funding will help companies create and develop the new gaming content and IP that is essential to allow the UK industry to grow.

Speaking of the essential link between education and industry, Jim Murphy added: “A crucial element will be the deployment of talented students working together with small firms on prototype creation – breaking new ground in on-campus working and ‘industry-ready’ graduates.

“This innovative approach and new investment will ensure we continue to develop the homegrown talent. This is vital if we are to ensure our video games firms are best placed to take advantage of the growing global market.

“It is an important element to drive the UK’s economic prosperity in the global economic upturn.”

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University said: “Abertay University has been at the forefront of building real-world experience into its courses, since it led developments in this area in the mid nineties. We later opened that opportunity to students across the UK and internationally through Dare to be Digital, the pathway to the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award. This announcement allows us to scale up further our support to UK games developers, including our fellow members of TIGA. We are particularly keen to make sure that growing companies can take forward new IP without having to divert resources from core business. The link between the facilities in Dundee and Manchester is also crucial to the successful reach of this project.”

The investment was welcomed by local Dundee video games companies.

Dave Jones, founder of Dundee based Crackdown and APB developers Realtime Worlds said: "Using a prototype fund to provide computing and arts students with the opportunity to get hands on experience of real projects will help equip them better for working in our high growth industry and help feed the demand we have for talent."

Colin Anderson, Managing Director of Dundee based Denki said: “Denki’s growth potential is driven entirely by our ability to realise original concepts, and anything that accelerates that process would be extremely valuable to us.”

Digital Goldfish is a video games spin out company started by two graduates of Abertay University. Director David Hamilton said: "Finding resources for creating prototypes to demonstrate new concepts to potential funders is very difficult and restricts the amount of new IP we can develop. Support for prototyping will enable us to bring more products to market"

Minister for Creative Industries Siôn Simon said: “UK developers are incredibly adept at making the current generation of video games. The money announced today will help boost the skills and provide essential support for intellectual property development needed to take full advantage of the huge opportunities that lie ahead.  With continued support from Government we help secure the future of the video games industry so it can continue to fly the flag for UK’s world-leading skills in design, technology and innovation.”

The video games industry is one of Scotland’s fastest growing sectors but creating new IP is essential to maintain that growth. Development of prototypes at the Abertay facility will be particularly useful for small companies seeking investment for growth.

“The prototypes developed here will be used to help attract content investment and build investor confidence in new products – driving funding and growth in the industry,” Jim Murphy concluded.

The commercial potential developed at Abertay will be enhanced by the new centre of excellence in Manchester. The new facility at MediaCityUK will help take games and creative content to the next level. Companies will gain better understanding of how gamers use their prototype products, providing the opportunity for the product refinement that will lead to enhanced success in the market.

The video games centre within MediaCity UK grew from a commitment in the Digital Britain report published in June that highlighted the potential for links with Abertay University. It is supported by £1 million from the Strategic Investment Fund. With complementary funding from individual European Regional Development Fund initiatives in Manchester and Scotland (via the Scottish Government) and from NWDA, a total of up to £10 million funding for the two centres is expected.

The UK Government’s £750 million Strategic Investment Fund was announced in the budget on 22 April to underpin its active industrial strategy ‘New Industry, New Jobs’. It will build UK strengths in innovation, R&D and skills – ensuring UK businesses come into the economic upturn stronger and more competitive.

Notes to editors

1.      For more information please contact:

Nathaniel Mumford, Scotland Office Press Office on 07590 531818, Nathaniel.mumford@scotlandoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Fiona Cameron, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Press Office on 020 7215 5978 0207 215 3505

3.      Jim Murphy and Scottish Government Culture and External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop will be visiting Abertay University to tour the existing games development facilities on Monday 7th. Ministers will be available for a photocall and interview opportunities at 14.30 on Monday 7 December.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

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