Our Sites: UK Games Fund | UK Games Talent

Round 6: How to Apply

Please read all the following guidance carefully.

Round 6 is open to all UK-based game developers with less than 50 employees who are developing early-stage projects.

Applicants can apply for an initial support package valued at £10,000 (including £5,000 of grant funding) to refine and improve pitching skills, whilst also developing a playable demo for showcasing at a major consumer games show in the Autumn.

A further opportunity to pitch in-person to the UK Games Fund will be provided at the Autumn show, where successful teams can secure an additional grant of up to £20,000.

To be considered for Round 6 you must complete a Written Application form (see bottom of page) after reading through all information below by Monday 3rd February 2020, 12:00 noon.

Support and Opportunity

An initial support package will be provided to the value of £10,000 of cash and in-kind support comprising:

  • An award of £5,000 paid in two £2,500 instalments (the first in June, the second in August)
  • Involvement in our community of funded companies, along with pitch guidance and informative webinar sessions
  • Face-to-face meetings in July to explore your pitch with the UK Games Fund team (plus invited publishers, platform holders, and investors)
  • An opportunity to showcase your project at a large-scale consumer games show in Autumn this year

Supported applicants who participate in the showcase at the consumer games show in the Autumn will also be required to pitch for further funding from the UK Games Fund.

  • Pitches will take place in a private meeting room at the show
  • Grants of up to £20,000 from the UK Games Fund will be available
  • These grants must be spent between November 2020 and March 2021

Some pre-approved accommodation costs will be covered for the key events mentioned above where attendance is required. This is at our discretion, and will be limited to a fixed number of team members.

Who should apply?

The standard programme is designed to support early-stage projects that need further time for the development of ideas and pitching materials. Participation in the consumer games show later in the year provides a clear deadline, as well as the opportunity to gain all-important feedback from the public and industry, while also meeting publishers and funders who regularly attend the event.

In your application you will be expected to be able to clearly explain the benefit that this programme will bring to your project and company.

This may differ depending on your circumstances:

  • Smaller companies and newly formed teams frequently have a need for early stage funding, support, and visibility – but beyond simple development goals you should have an eye on what the next step is in terms of the business, and how we can help get you there, or
  • More established companies and teams will need to show a direct benefit or opportunity they might not otherwise be able to pursue – perhaps our help would support growth of a new project team or work in a new area, or perhaps mitigate specific risks around a new project or IP.

Games that are already in full-scale development (or where the majority of funding is already secure) may not be appropriate for this programme – if in doubt then send us a short paragraph about the project and we will endeavour to help.

Applicant Information

The application process has three parts, and is expected to complete by April 2020:

  • All applicants are asked to complete a full written application by Monday 3rd February
  • All applicants are asked to provide a short video pitch, with links to upload provided in February
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a live video meeting with the UK Games Fund team in the first week of March

If you feel you need special support in making your application you can let us know by email (help@ukgamesfund.com) or via the written application form. In addition, you can also elect to participate in information sharing regarding under-representation.

Consider the following before applying:

  • Your project must be in-development during the summer of 2020 (on at least a part-time basis) so we can see your progress
  • You will be asked for a plan of what you intend to develop in time for the consumer games show (supported by the £5,000 award, and carried out between June and September 2020) – this needs to be playable by the general public
  • Evidence of ongoing development work will be required (in the form of a monthly video update)
  • You must be able to attend the face-to-face meetings in July. Exact date and venue TBC
  • Successful applicants must be available to join us at the Autumn consumer games show (exact dates and venue TBC)

Throughout the year applicants will need to be thinking ahead of the Autumn pitch, by which point we’ll expect:

  • You will have developed something playable for the consumer games show and updated your original pitch to incorporate a stronger understanding of audience and market
  • You will have a clear idea of what your unique selling point or other market differentiator is – being able to communicate this clearly will help build confidence in your project
  • You will have taken steps to identify additional team members where required who will be able to come on board should you secure additional funding (to ensure you can spend that funding between November 2020 and March 2021)
  • Your team should have some past experience of completing and shipping a project, regardless of the level of success – this doesn’t have to apply to every team member
  • You will have done your research on next steps, such as who you will approach to fund the remainder of the project, how you expect to handle publishing, etc.
  • You will be able to describe the future of your business, how the grant will provide a positive impact on your sustainability and growth as a studio, and what your vision is beyond this individual project
  • Applications will usually only be accepted from registered companies. In exceptional circumstances we may accept a pre-formation application but the planned route to a growth company will need detailed explanation in the Business Sustainability and Growth Plan section of the written application form
  • Companies must have fewer than 50 employees
  • The scale of development will be such that our support and grant will represent no more than 50% of the total costs of the project once it has been released
  • Your project must not include gambling elements or mechanisms which could be perceived as such, or any content that we deem to be potentially reputationally damaging (solely at our discretion)
  • Your project should be a digital game suitable for demonstration at a public consumer event
  • Your project can already be in development, although we don’t support projects that have already fully launched, and do not fund work carried out prior to the grant being offered
  • Projects following an open-development model with a live build available in a pre-release form will still be considered (but typically we don’t fund pure DLC development for a title already launched)

Applicants give us authorisation to undertake credit and other due diligence checks.

Key dates:

    • Written Application submission closes Monday 3rd February 2020, 12:00 noon (applicants will be invited to submit a video pitch that week after submitting the written application)
    • Application evaluation period February/March
    • Shortlisted applicants invited to interview first week of March
    • Successful applicants notified March/April
    • First £2,500 paid in April/May 2020
    • Face-to-face meetings July/August (venue and details TBC)
    • Second £2,500 paid in August
    • Consumer showcase event and final pitch in Autumn 2020
    • Fully funded companies have up to £20,000 grant to spend on salaries / contractors between November 2020 and March 2021

The initial support package is not subject to the following constraints, but you should be prepared to show that you can meet these requirements (should you be awarded a grant) at the time of application.

      • Your HMRC PAYE registration details and employer reference number
      • Assurance that for any work on the funded project directors will pay themselves via PAYE (no dividends, director’s loan repayments, connected contractor invoices etc accepted)
      • A valid State Aid de Minimis declaration in a form we’ll provide, taking into account the scale of funding applied for
      • (Explanation of State Aid de Minimis rules: applicants will not be eligible for grants if the grant will mean they will receive more than 200,000 euros from any source over the previous three-year period)
      • Enough working capital to cover 6 weeks expenditure on the project upfront
      • Completion of an IP Housekeeping Audit (we’ll show you how)
      • Company profile information and data to help build a detailed picture of the games development sector in the UK

You’ll be required to confirm that you can provide the above at time of application.

You will need at least 6 weeks of working capital to enable you to draw down the grant, which must be claimed monthly after incurring and defraying your costs

The initial support package is not subject to the following constraints, but you should be prepared to show that you can meet these requirements (should you be awarded a grant) at the time of application.

You may only claim for approved employment costs for UK employees and UK contractors declared on your application form.

For the avoidance of doubt that means:

      • You must have at least one PAYE employee or Director while claiming the grant
      • Employees and directors must be paid via PAYE if claimed from the grant
      • Net pay costs of UK-domiciled employees paid through PAYE evidenced by payslips and bank statement entries.
      • Employers NI costs of UK domiciled employees paid through PAYE evidenced by remittance advice to HMRC and bank statement entries.
      • Detailed UK-domiciled contractor invoices exclusive of VAT (if you aren’t VAT registered you can claim the VAT element subject to agreeing with us and providing appropriate evidence) evidenced by invoice and bank statement entry showing payment.
      • We’ll expect employee and contractor charge out rates to be consistent with industry norms and any inflated rates will require multi-year evidence of salary etc. rates.

No costs of any other nature will be approved for funding from the grant. Requesting such costs in your application for grant money could result in negative scoring in your application.

Monthly claims may be capped at £7,000 (this will be decided on a case by case basis), but successful applicants can use their own resources above and beyond any cap of ours if necessary.

For the comfort and fairness of everyone participating at the consumer showcase later in the year, the standard allocated showcase space per team is (this includes Single Player, Multiplayer, Mobile / Tablet, seated VR):

      • Standard Showcase Space: 1.25m x 1.25m screen space (this will hold 1 x 27” TV Monitor and 1 x PC)
      • Multiplayer games need to ensure that their game can function off 1 x 27” TV monitor (this can be split screen) and 1 x PC. There is no option for multiple TV monitors or PC’s on the standard allocated space.
      • Room Scale AR/VR Standard Showcase Space: 3m x 3m this will hold 1 x 27” TV Monitor, 1 x PC along with headsets and lighthouses.
      • Please note: we have a limited amount of showcase floor space available for Room Scale AR/VR and depending on the number of teams developing their prototype in Room Scale AR/VR they may need to share the space.

If your team requires anything over and above the standard, please state clearly in your application form and contact the UK Games Fund team directly. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate requests outwith the standard and teams may have to adjust their game prototype development to accommodate the space available to them. All teams are required to provide their own equipment for the showcase.

This is the only route to apply for Round 6 funding

Unsuccessful applicants

This is the only route to apply for Round 6 funding.

No correspondence will be entered into and there is no appeal. In some cases, we may suggest re-applying after you’ve addressed highlighted issues in which case we’ll give some general guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is provided for reference in relation to the full grant.

What are the terms? Is it repayable? Are there other ways I’ll be required to contribute to the UKGTF Community?

No, it is a grant and provided all grant conditions are met during and after the project, cash repayment of grant will not be required. However, there will be a contractual requirement to contribute senior staff time as a mentor, judge, reviewer or speaker in support of your peers at a later mutually convenient date. This time contribution is likely to be between 10 to 15 days for a £20,000 grant in the two years following the project. Where travel is involved your travel expenses will be met in accordance with our reimbursement policies in force at the time. In addition, all executive directors of funded companies will be expected to make a public pledge to re-invest a fair and reasonable proportion of any significant returns in talent / IP development for the UK games ecosystem via the UK Games Fund on a discretionary basis, should their company benefit disproportionately as a result of this support.

How to claim the grant once awarded

All claims will require evidence of spend incurred and defrayed by the company together with a project report indicating satisfactory progress including, where required, a video of the build. Evidence of spend is usually bank statement linked to payroll details and paid contractor invoices. Payment of claims is at the discretion of UK Games Fund and will be made as soon as practicable following receipt of a valid claim. Claims not received within six weeks from incurring expenditure may be disallowed at the sole discretion of UK Games Fund.

If you don’t commence work and submit your first claim in a satisfactory form within 4 weeks of the offer letter, or if there are undue delays at any point we reserve the right to withdraw our offer.

Other things to consider

With the wide range of support measures now provided by the UK Government (including for example creative sector or R&D tax credits, innovation grants and SEIS/EIS investment schemes) you should seek professional advice on the blend of funding and various schemes that your company is eligible for or benefitting from, particularly in terms of (for example) whether one relief could cancel eligibility for another, within the terms of specific project budgets. You should also remember to take this broad view of public support when assessing receipts that should be considered in de Minimis State Aid calculations. All liabilities in this regard will be with the applicant who will be required to warrant accordingly.

All of the foregoing information is provided for guidance only and does not form part of any contract.