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Demand for Round 7 of the UK Games Fund has far surpassed expectations; at the time of writing, we’re on course for more than 200 EOIs from potential applicants.

2021 is the first time two rounds have been announced at once. So what is the difference between the two, and why have both been announced together?

In this article, we hear directly from Paul Durrant, Founder and Director at UK Games Fund about what applicants to Round 7 need to know and what those interested in Round 8 should expect to learn soon.

  • The UK Games Fund has been running for five years now, what learning has been taken on board for the upcoming funding rounds?

With over 1,000 applicants so far, we’ve seen how studio maturity plays a big part in getting the best out of our funding. Of course, we don’t expect applicants for full grants to be so well-established that they no longer need support, but we have seen far higher success by teams that have worked through their launch projects and released them in some way before they apply to us.

What we’ve witnessed has been teams gelling around shared visions and incorporating learning from previous releases to pitch and follow through and deliver on our funding. So, we’ve experimented a few times with a two-tier approach; one route for applicants that can demonstrate that early learning with evidence and another for those that aren’t quite there yet. Round 7 falls firmly in to the former and Round 8 for the latter. We’re hoping this allows applicants to self-evaluate which round is best for them in order that they might have the best chances for success with their application and involvement with the UK Games Fund.

  • What will Round 7 applicants be required to demonstrate?

To be eligible to apply applicants must have completed and released one or more titles under the leadership used for the application and be trading as an established business. There can be minor changes in team make up but essentially, we expect that original team to be taking their early learning and building on it for their Round 7 pitch. A release can include self-publishing, but we’ll need to see that clearly in the market with some kind of outcome (even if it’s a failure in commercial terms). That allows the team to articulate the journey and the learning in the context of their new pitch.

  • What will successful Round 7 companies receive?

Funded companies will be awarded up to £25,000 for the commercial development of their own-IP game. The grant is paid retrospectively and grant awardees will be required to submit regular project updates in order to draw down the funding in stages. Their existing cash flow will need to cover the work ahead of their claims.

  • What’s going to be on offer in Round 8?

The full eligibility requirements for Round 8 will be announced soon but we can say that Round 8 will support selected established companies that haven’t yet released a game. Funding will be set in the context of pitch development with the idea of allowing time and space to develop a pitch to us without the track record needed to make the case for funding in Round 7. As a Community Interest Company, we’re able to lever the support from our previously funded companies to help early-stage applicants during that process and this support has proven to be highly valuable. Cash funding will be around £6,000, but the real benefits flow from being part of our community.

Round 7 EOIs are open until Monday 31st May.

All eligible applicants must complete EOIs before being invited to complete a full application.