Register Interest

Express your interest in applying to the next round of application. Please be advised the EOI will close on Friday 1st March 12:00.

Expressions of Interest – closing soon

The most recent round was heavily over-subscribed and applicants will learn the outcome of their applications in due course.

We are now open for expressions of interest (EOI). We will close the EOI on Friday 1st March, 12:00 noon.

This will be an invitation-only round open only to some of those who submit an EOI. Invitations will be issued in February / March 2024 to apply with projects starting in June 2024 and completing before March 2025.

Only established companies operating PAYE and with a current PAYE registration that pre-dates the EOI completion are eligible. Please do not submit an EOI if you don’t meet that requirement.

Applicants are advised that registration on our grant platform is required in order to submit their EOI. Established companies with a game development project at an early stage can apply for grants up to £30,000, if invited.

To start the process, you can follow the link at the bottom of this webpage (Register EOI).

Other than the noted link, information below this point is for reference only and should be followed only if invited to apply.

How to Apply

After submitting your EOI, you will only need to apply if invited to do so.

Invited, eligible applicants are required to upload a 2-minute pitch video and submit a written form.

All applicants are required to register with our application platform. 

Pitch videos must be no longer than 2 mins. Videos must be playable from a browser and no larger than 100MB. Game trailers are not accepted.

Applicants are strongly advised to watch the Guidance video below.

Previous Rounds

Our previous rounds have always been highly competitive. Typically, we fund around 10% of 150 to 200 applications. If you are unsuccessful, there will be more opportunities to apply in the near future.

Don’t be dismayed by the challenge. We’ve already funded over 230 projects so if you have a great team and are confident that you can deliver a great game based on your achievements to date, and you plan to grow, then your application will stand out.

Your Suitability

We expect to see strong applications from teams and solo developers with the following attributes.  Applicants should consider the following as a baseline regarding suitability for funding:

  • You will have completed some early concept work and have either a proof-of-concept demo or other visual pre-production work, so that you can show your project in the best light with your pitch video.
  • 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 a development team, either as UK-based paid staff or UK-based contractors, that is either in place or is ready to come on board quickly if you are successful – being able to describe the specific attributes of your team helps to prove your overall development capability.
  • Your team should normally have experience of professional game development.
  • You should have done your research and have a clear idea of what the next steps are beyond the grant – who you will approach to fund the remainder of the project, how you will handle publishing, etc.
  • You should 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.

Your funded project work (the funded portion of the project) should be able to start in June 2024.

Desirable Traits

Business:

  • You are an established SME with at least one employee and PAYE registration in place (typically 3 – 10+ individuals, including contractors where applicable).
  • Your business is already growing and you have plans to grow towards larger projects, recruiting talent to do so.
  • Your company has been founded by at least one individual who enjoys business, speaks the language of business and is pushing your studio forward.
  • You are working with inclusivity / diversity and supporting different voices (e.g. the BFI guidance).
  • Your business is not dependent on grant funding and can demonstrate it is developing into a financially sustainable enterprise.

Team:

  • If you are presently a solo developer, you have sufficient professional experience and a solid network of talented UK-based contractors ready to come on board quickly.
  • Your team may have one or more experienced/mentor-level team members in key positions who have developed and released games over several years.
  • You have plans to develop your own IP or move into the own-IP space from another relevant area of business.
  • You have access to an established business support network.

Project:

  • You have a clear, evidenced and verified market opportunity, and you can demonstrate how you are going to ‘stand up to’ and ‘stand out from’ any competitors.
  • Your project has received positive feedback and confirmation from socials, games press, publishers, focus-groups, play testers, focus-testers, or public demonstration at games expos.
  • You have early interest from publishers and you have been asked to extend or improve on a prior demo with a real possibility of being signed.
  • The project is not wholly dependent on grant funding because you have other income streams / working capital / time resources.

Our funding focus is primarily on games for entertainment.

The Application Process

  • After submitting your EOI, you will only need to apply if invited to do so.
  • We strongly recommend that all applicants read through the information below before getting started.
  • The application process is your opportunity to share details of the project, the team, your planned route to market and potential commercial opportunities your project presents to your studio.
  • You will need to have your ITL code for reference in the written application (you can find that by clicking the button below the tabs).
  • Pitch videos should not be game trailers and max file size is 100MB.

2023/2024 Application Guidance Video

Criteria & other key details

Invited, eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applications will only be accepted from registered UK-based companies.
  • 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).
  • Games associated with emergent business models with little evidence of success are unlikely to be funded until that evidence base can be demonstrated. For more context, see our news article here.
  • 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.

The maximum grant we are offering is £30,000 for approved employment costs of UK-based employees and UK-based contractors paid from April 2024.

Monthly claims will generally be capped at £6,000, but successful applicants can use their own resources above and beyond that if necessary.

EOIs are now welcome from eligible candidates. 

Invitations to apply will be issued in February / March 2024. Funded work can begin from June and must be complete by 31st March 2025.

If awarded a grant from the UK Games Fund, portfolio companies may only claim for approved employment costs for UK-based employees and UK-based contractors declared on your application form.

For the avoidance of doubt that means:

  • Gross 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. Including such costs in your application for grant money could result in negative scoring in your application.

Our grants are non-repayable. Provided all grant conditions are met during and after the project, cash repayment of grant will not be required.

However, we do ask that in acceptance of the grant that your company commit 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 could be up to 12 to 16 days for a £30,000 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.

Find your ITL Code

Find out which code you will need to use in your application form here.

Successful Applicants

If successful, you will be required to confirm that you can provide the following:

  • Your HMRC PAYE registration details and employer reference number – there will be no exceptions from this requirement.
  • 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 Subsidy declaration in a form we’ll provide, taking into account the scale of funding applied for. Declarations require you to confirm other sources of public funding and when combined with a grant from us that they don’t breach limits for the time being in force.
  • All Directors of funded companies will need to verify their identity on Yoti.
  • Enough working capital to cover 6 weeks expenditure on the project upfront.
  • We may require you to complete 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 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. Grant claims are paid in arrears monthly.

You should only apply if you can provide the above.

You must be ready to start work on your funded project with one month (4 weeks) of issue of a formal Offer Letter of Grant from the UK Games Fund.

FAQS

If you’ve got any further questions, please refer to our FAQs.

Unsuccessful applicants

No correspondence will be entered into and there is no appeal.

In some cases, we may suggest re-applying to future funding calls after you’ve addressed highlighted issues (in which case we’ll give some general guidance at the time of application). 

Register EOI

Eligible candidates are welcome to register interest in a future round of funding. Please be advised applications will be sent by invite only.