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Government Support For The UK Gaming Sector

The UK gaming sector has gone from strength to strength in recent years and there’s a range of funding supports available.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

Myriad Associates can help your business achieve the innovation funding it needs

The UK gaming sector is exciting, dynamic and constantly innovating. Lucky there’s a number of generous government support types available for the UK gaming sector specifically, one of which is the UK Games Fund.

Why does the government want UK businesses, especially games companies, to innovate?

The UK, alongside America and China, has a long and respected history of developing world class video games. The global software market is expected to grow from $137.9 billion in 2018 to an estimated $180.1 billion by the end of 2021, meaning that opportunities for the UK games industry are abundant.

There’s no doubt that UK gaming is an essential part of the economy, so the government is keen to encourage its growth. Over time it has therefore offered a range of grants and tax reliefs, for both the video games industry and the wider business world as a whole. The main ones include the UK Games Fund, Video Games Tax Relief, R&D Tax Credits and R&D Grants.

So what is the UK Games Fund?

Launched in 2015, the UK Games Fund is a £4 million pool of grants that studios can use in developing a specific game project.

How does the funding work?

As long as all the criteria is met, grants that are awarded are non-repayable making them a valuable source of support. However, executive directors of businesses that receive the funding are expected (although notably this isn’t mandatory) to reinvest a proportion of the grant back into the UK games ecosystem. Businesses must also be able to put forward a number of staff that can act as mentors and judges for other up-and-coming UK gaming enterprises.

Who can apply?

Grants will only be awarded to:

  • Registered, active UK gaming companies and developers
  • Companies which can demonstrate that no more than 50% of the grant will be used for the cost of the game in development (so at least 50% will need to come from the business itself.

Grants can be offered to start-ups, providing you have formally established (registered) your entity. All businesses must also have at least 6 weeks of working capital so it can draw down the grant in arrears.

As grants are for projects that employ UK employees or contractors, businesses must therefore have at least one UK-based PAYE employee, but no more than 50. If any employees or contractors aren’t domiciled in the UK then their costs cannot be covered by a UK Games Fund grant.

What types of games projects won’t qualify?

Grants will not be awarded for projects:

  • That have any gambling elements (or appear to have gambling elements as decided by the UK Games Fund)
  • Involving games that are purely non-digital (a card or board game for instance)
  • Involving games that have already been launched.

If you’re not sure about any aspect of your claim or eligibility, please do get in touch with our R&D funding experts at Myriad Associates so we can assist you.

How do you apply?

Once (or sometimes twice) a year, the UK Games Fund will open up a new round of applications. Studios are welcome to apply when funding rounds open up, and will need to get their applications in by the specific deadline set.

The application process is divided into two stages: the Written Application and the Video Pitch Application. Applicants who are then successful must carry out an internal IP housekeeping audit and allow the UK Games Fund to do their necessary credit and other checks.

More information is readily available on the UK Games Fund website.

For other companies not in the video games sphere, there’s also R&D Tax Credits

The UK government unveiled R&D Tax Credits back in the early 2000s as a highly valuable tax break for innovative businesses. The scheme lets businesses who have undergone innovative activities reclaim as much as 33% of their R&D costs, even if the project was ultimately unsuccessful.

The relief is offered as a Corporation Tax refund (or a cash payment for companies making a loss). It’s completely tax free and can be used for anything from buying new equipment, hiring more developers, paying out dividends and of course reinvestment in further R&D activities.

R&D Tax Credits can be received by companies that are based in the UK and that have spent money on making any technological or scientific advancement that benefits their field. This could be creating a brand new product, process or service for example, or substantially upgrading an existing one.

The scope for eligible projects and costs is massive, but the applicable R&D work must have been completed within the last two years. If you think your company may be eligible, you can find out more about the relief and how to apply on our R&D Tax Credits page.

R&D Grants

Research & Development grant funding in general is a popular way of leveraging finance for companies up and down the UK, especially in these tough economic times. Not only can the support speed up a company’s R&D programme, but it also removes a large chunk of the financial risk.

However, knowing what R&D grants are available and which ones best suit your business specifically is no easy task. There are a large number of national and international schemes available and taking the time to understand their complexities is time many people just don’t have. But you don’t have to go it alone - this is where we come in.

Why Myriad Associates?

Whether you’re looking to apply for R&D Tax Credits or an R&D Grant, we’re here to help you make an accurate, optimised claim first time. We take the worry out of putting your claim together, and make it feel less like a lottery.

The Myriad Associates team has almost two decades of experience in R&D funding of all types, and our expert R&D specialists and Grant Application Writers will be pleased to guide you through the process.

To find out more about R&D funding or the UK Games Fund, please do call the team on 0207 118 6045 or use our contact form.

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