After happily reporting growth in the UK games industry in 2007, the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) is once again announcing impressive figures. The UK games industry saw £418.4million in software sales in Q1 2008, up from £317million for the same period last year. Paul Jackson, the Director General of the ELSPA, trumpeted, “We are thrilled to see the industry continue to grow at such a rapid rate and video game sales continuing to rise. This period has seen more innovative and family-friendly titles doing well and it is clear that consumers of all ages have been lining up to buy them.”
This time, however, the ELSPA is looking for more than just a pat on the back.
The ELSPA has called on the government to lend more support to the burgeoning games industry. Jackson continued, “The UK continues to blaze a trail in terms of creativity yet over the last few years it is becoming apparent that some talent is being lured away by more attractive prospects overseas. As it stands, the UK is already down to fourth place from third as the world’s creative centre for games. It is time the Government recognised the massive financial contribution we make to the UK economy, especially when compared to the film, TV and music industries today. We call for a level playing field in terms of incentive and support. We would like to see a pledge from the Government that encourages investment in our development studios and talent at home.”
There’s no doubt that the games industry is experiencing growing pains. Often these pains come in the form of media uproar or political outrage. In fact, just last month, the UK’s ban on Manhunt 2 was lifted, even though the game launched last fall in the States. It seems like the industry is always under fire these days. So it’s refreshing for someone to stand up and point out the good that the industry is doing, and to demand its due from an ungrateful government. Cheers, Mr. Jackson.