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Government to fund the video games of tomorrow

The next generation of innovative video game developers can now apply for grants of up to £25,000 to help turn their drawing board ideas into reality.

Now into its fourth round, the government’s £5 million UK Games Fund (UKGF) has to date supported more than 70 development studios from across the UK to create their own video games.

The UK’s video games sector plays a vital role in the country’s thriving creative industries, which last year generated £91.8 billion for the UK economy.

In the Autumn Budget, the government pledged a further £1 million to extend the UKGF until 2020, aiding access to finance and business support for early stage video game developers.

Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries said:

“We want to ensure the next generation of talent has the chance to realise its creative and innovative ideas as part of the global success story that is the UK video games industry.

“With a proven track record in supporting early stage games development, I hope this new round of the UK Games Fund can help nurture more blockbuster British video games.”

London-based developers Roll7, behind 2014’s skateboarding game OlliOlli, are previous recipients of the fund and are currently working towards their next release. Laser League is a futuristic sports game where players compete as teams to outlast their opponents by setting up moving lasers in an arena.

Simon Bennett, Director at Roll7, said:

“The invaluable support from the UK Games Fund was crucial in us getting to a solid prototype and passing due-diligence by making key technical hires.”

New to this round of funding is the Pitch Development Programme aimed at developers who don’t meet the UK Games Fund criteria.

The Pitch Development Programme will support a group of teams with high potential as they develop prototype games ready to be shown off at a consumer games show later in the year. Each team will then be given the chance to pitch their prototype to a panel of industry experts, competing for a grant of up to £25,000.

At the end of the show, each team will be given the chance to pitch their proposal to a panel of industry experts. Teams will also receive a cash and in-kind package equivalent to £10,000 in value when selected to take part in the programme.

Paul Durrant, Head of the UKGF, said:

“We’re keen to broaden our support to help new talent in addition to well-established studios. Our new Pitch Development Programme is designed to help those potential applicants that don’t meet the current criteria to still be in with a chance of joining our portfolio.”

Find out more about the current round of funding and how to apply here.