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Government to give £25K grants to game devs

In a bid to keep disgruntled UK game devs happy after the cancellation of games tax relief, the government has unveiled a £5 million investment project for the country's games businesses.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey revealed the scheme at the Develop conference in Brighton yesterday, saying the programme would be handled in conjunction with Dundee's Abertay University.

Last week, Dundee West Labour MP Jim McGovern specifically asked Prime Minister David Cameron to tell "the hundreds of people in Dundee who work in the industry and the students and staff at the University of Abertay why the Chancellor believes it [games tax relief] is poorly targeted."

At the time, Cameron dodged the question and talked about corporation tax instead, but it looks as though the pressure from MPs and the games industry is starting to make an impact.

"I am delighted this morning to launch formally the new £2 million fund to support games IP run by Abertay University," said Vaizey yesterday. However, he added that although Abertay University would be running the scheme, it was in fact "open to applications from any eligible company located in the UK."

The £2 million fund will be expanded to £5 million at a later date, and Vaizey says the scheme will give out grants of up to £25,000 to developers "who can demonstrate relevant and fully working prototypes." Vaizey hopes the scheme will create hundreds of jobs within the sector.

It's certainly a good start, but a few grants won't make up for the money the industry could save with games tax relief. In its own budget, the government calculated that scrapping the scheme would save up to £50 million a year; ten times the amount offered by the new grants scheme.