How to Apply: Round 10

Round 10 of the UK Games Fund is NOW CLOSED. The following information is supplied for reference only. Round 10 is aimed at early stage UK-based development studios and solo developers. The deadline for submission of a full application is 10:00 Wednesday 2nd November.

How it will work

Established UK-based companies and solo developers with a game development project at an early stage in the pipeline can apply for grants of up to £12,000, with an opportunity to pitch later for up to £18,000 of additional support (up to £30,000 in total). Successful applicants will begin funded work in January 2023.

All funded work covered by the initial £12,000 grant support must be complete by 31st March 2023.

Selected funded companies will be invited to pitch for additional funding the early part of 2023.

As with previous rounds of the UK Games Fund, we’re revisiting the proven success model of the pitch development approach. This approach – of issuing smaller grants to applicants that have the capacity to build on their expertise and pitching skills – has been very popular in the past as we’ve been able to help a wider range and larger number of applicants.

These applicants will be invited to pitch for additional grant support at a later date, allowing them to flesh out their offering and consider how best to pitch for further funding of up to £18,000

Where appropriate, the UK Games Fund panel may offer applicants a direct route to the full funding offer of up to £30,000.

The Application Process

Applicants are required to submit a written form and upload pitch video.

The written application should contain details about the studio, the project, business plans and route to market.
Applicants are also required to submit a 2 minute maximum pitch video alongside this written form. The link to upload the pitch video will be included in the submission notification after having completed the written form.

We strongly advise that applicants work on their pitch video in tandem with their written application form.

The deadline for submissions of the written form and pitch video is Wednesday 2nd November 10:00.

Successful applicants will receive a grant of £12,000 and will be eligible to pitch for a further grant of up to £18,000 from early 2023.

Funded work can begin January 2023.

Our previous rounds have always been highly competitive. Typically, we fund around 10% of 150 to 200 applications and we plan to close this round before the closing date if over-subscribed. For that reason, we strongly advise that applications are submitted as soon as they are ready. Late submission cannot be accepted. If you miss this round, we will be announcing further rounds next year.

Don’t be dismayed by the challenge. We’ve already funded over 220 companies 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.

For more information about the rationale for this approach, read the recent Q&A with our CEO and Founder, Paul Durrant.

Your Suitability

We see stronger applications from teams and solo developers with the following attributes.  Therefore, 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 paid staff or 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 some past 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 should be able to start in January 2023 and be complete by March 2023.

After our initial grant has been awarded, we’ll keep you posted about the deadlines and details to pitch for the second tranche of funding.

The Application Process

  • Eligible applicants are required to complete a written submission and upload a 2 min max pitch video initially to be considered for a grant of £12,000.
  • We strongly recommend that all applicants read through the information below and the downloadable Application Guidance 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.
  • If possible, use your local networks and wider contacts to run your application past one of our previously funded companies. There are non-compulsory fields on the application form to add details of their endorsement if you manage to secure it. Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to secure this – it isn’t a pre-requisite to consideration of your application.
  • You will need to have your NUTS code for reference in the written application (you can find that by clicking the button below the tabs).

The deadline for submission of a full application is 10:00 Wednesday 2nd November.

For Round 10 of the UK Games Fund, eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applications will only be accepted from registered UK-based companies and solo developers that have been established for more than 12 months.
  • 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 should be a digital game suitable for demonstration at a public consumer event (should you be invited).
  • 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 £12,000 for approved employment costs of UK-based employees and UK-based contractors January – March 2023.

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

Applications must be completed and submitted by 10:00 on Wednesday 2nd November.

If selected, funded work must be carried out January – March 2023. 

During that period, we’ll update you on opportunities to pitch for the possibility of a further £18,000 grant. We see any initial £12,000 award we make to you as part of an ongoing application and review process leading to pitch interview and selection for a further £18,000. Any additional work as required can, of course, be funded by other means prior to, during and beyond the funded period.

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 is likely to be between 5 to 7 days for a £12,000 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 NUTS 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.
  • 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 International 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.
  • 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).