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Government sets up £4m fund to spur video games industry

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport announces grants of up to £25,000 from the Video Games Prototype fund to help new UK games developers get off the ground

The government has announced a £4m fund to boost the country’s growing video games development industry, in the hope of uncovering the next big thing in British gaming.

The Video Games Prototype Fund, set up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, comes on the heels of a previous government-supported scheme which was run at Abertay University between 2010 and 2014.

It will offer grants of up to £25,000 to help small developers get new gaming projects off the ground, create new jobs and nurture future talent, with the aim of finding the next RuneScape or Tomb Raider.

Additional grants of up to £50,000 will be made available to a limited number of projects to take their products beyond the prototype stage.

Based in Dundee and London, the fund will run until 2019, and forms part of a package of measures the UK government has already introduced for the gaming industry, including a package of tax reliefs.

It will be managed by the UK Games Talent and Finance Community Interest Company, with input from bodies such as Digital Catapult, Bafta, Ukie, Tiga, Creative England, Creative Scotland and the British Film Institute.

“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,” said digital economy minister Ed Vaizey.

“This fund will give small businesses, startups and individuals the support they need to better attract private investment and go on to create the blockbusters of tomorrow.”

UK Games Talent and Finance CIC managing director Paul Durrant added: “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.”

The sector already generates more than £4.5m every day for the economy and employs more than 19,000 around the country, according to Nesta and Ukie stats.

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