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A new £4 million fund to help boost the UK’s growing video games industry has been launched by the UK Government.

Aimed at helping smaller companies get concepts off the drawing board and into production, the fund will provide additional support to the sector which has already given the world global blockbusters like Tomb Raider, Little Big Planet, Runescape, Monument Valley and Batman: Arkham Knight.

Over the four years from 2015 to 2019, the Video Games Prototype Fund will offer grants of up to £25,000 to support video games projects, as well as creating jobs, nurturing talent and furthering the growth of games clusters all around the UK.

The Fund forms part of a package of measures the UK Government has introduced for the sector including the highly successful tax reliefs.

Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey said:

“Britain’s video games punch well above their weight internationally and we need to build on this and invest in the strength of our creativity. This fund will give small businesses, start-ups and individuals the support they need to better attract private investment and go on to create the blockbusters of tomorrow.”

The UK’s video games industry currently generates more than £4.5 million* a day for the UK economy and directly employs more than 19,000 people. It’s undoubtedly one of our biggest success stories and this Fund will help young companies to raise the private investment necessary to see a concept turned into a finished product, helping to maximise the contribution to economic growth this sector is already delivering.

Key features of the fund include:

• Grants of up to £25,000 to help new and young games development businesses create working prototype games.
• Grants of up to £50,000 for a limited number of projects to take their ideas beyond the prototype phase.
• Talent development initiatives – this will include competitions for students and graduate teams to create and showcase new games, mentoring for businesses and individuals, and opportunities for talented individuals to work on games prototype projects.

The Prototype fund will build upon a previous government-supported scheme, which was successfully run by Abertay University between 2010 and 2014.

Ian Livingstone CBE, fantasy author and video games entrepreneur said:

“The UK has a long history of developing world-class video games. From Elite and Populous to Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto to Runescape and Moshi Monsters to Monument Valley and Plunder Pirates, UK games have made a significant cultural and economic global impact. This fund will encourage and incentivise new talent to carry on that important legacy.”

The Fund will be managed by the UK Games Talent and Finance Community Interest Company and will explore joint initiatives with organisations such as Digital Catapult, BAFTA, Ukie, Tiga, Creative England, Creative Scotland and BFI.

Paul Durrant, Managing Director, UK Games Talent and Finance CIC said:

“Funding for both prototype development and talent support can really make a difference‎ in the early stages of creative and business development. This Fund is a great boost for the sector and will help projects better attract significant private investment.