It would be the first organization of its kind in the world for the video game industry.
By Robert Marrujo:: Despite being around for decades now, video games are still overwhelmingly viewed as lowbrow entertainment. Yet, as anyone who's invested themselves in gaming as either a fan, professional, or both, it's difficult to accept that. As a vehicle for expression and art, video games are easily right up there with film and writing. Considering the video game industry pulls in billions of dollars in revenue each year, has millions of fans, and is now an undeniably cross-generational phenomenon, the idea that anyone would be hesitant to grant video games the same level of respect that other mediums of art and entertainment receives is appalling.
Thankfully, the British Games Institute seems to feel the same way. Founded in 2017 by former Eidos board member Ian Livingstone and investment consultant Rick Gibson, the BGI is modeled after the British Film Institute. The BFI is a government-recognized and financially backed entity that assists filmmakers in seeing their projects come to life via funding and other resources provided by the UK government. Now, the BGI is stepping in in to receive that same level of support via a petition.
You can sign the petition on Change.org by clicking this link. Here's what Livingston had to say:
"If you've ever played a video game, you've probably played one made in the UK. From the breath-taking creativity of Monument Valley and LittleBigPlanet, the grand strategies of Total War and Football Manager, the exhilaration of Batman and Forza, the joy of Lego and Worms to the freedom and sophistication of Grand Theft Auto, the British have a genius for making games.
We have made world-class games for nearly 40 years, but the studios that make our games face massive challenges in raising the money needed to develop games, fighting low public and media recognition of games' impact on our culture and economy, and real difficulties accessing the skills to keep our games world-class.
British games contribute well over £1 billion to the country's economy every year but government funding for the art form that is games has been negligible. Some still question whether games are even an art form. In this day and age!
Many of the most influential people in games, finance, the arts and education believe that it's high time games had a single national public agency to champion games. This new agency will address these challenges by funding the production of cultural games, backing cultural projects like games festivals and heritage, and sourcing cutting edge skills through online training.
The www.britishgamesinstitute.com is a proposal backed by over 500 games, arts, finance and educational organisations, as well as both trade bodies TIGA and Ukie.
But it won't happen unless politicians understand how important games are to UK people like you. We need your help to persuade government to fund the British Games Institute."
In this writer's estimation it's overdue that the video game industry begin to be recognized and appreciated by governments around the world. Hopefully BGI will succeed in securing the support it needs from the UK and lead to future, similar organizations internationally.