A new report on the state of the UK's game industry education system and workforce recommends that the region's two industry trade bodies, UKIE and TIGA, unite to more effectively serve their constituency.
The 88-page report, titled "Next Gen" and co-authored by Eidos life president (and UKIE non-executive director) Ian Livingstone and Double Negative co-founder Alex Hope, makes various recommendations to address what's widely perceived as a skills and support shortage for the UK's game industry. The pair undertook the report at the recommendation of MP Ed Vaizey.
It urges specific changes to the education system, such as mandating computer and science courses in the national curriculum, and calls for accredited game development specialist courses to be considered eligible for money from England's Higher Education Funding Council.
The Livingstone-Hope report also recommends that art and technology courses should be taught side by side, rather than segregated into art and science programs disparately.
A unification between the UK's two primary game developer trade bodies is necessary to help support and advance all of these recommendations, writes Livingston at the end of the report, a full download of which is available at NESTA's website.
"Progress is all about simplification, not complication," says Livingstone. "In order to be clearly heard, it is important to speak with a single voice. To be taken seriously, the video games industry and its trade bodies must be united to raise awareness of the opportunities it offers and the issues it faces. Only then will it be able to effect change."
It's more efficient for one body to address the government, schools, funding opportunities and more, Livingston suggests. This is important to facilitate synergies among the industry and the various parties best able to help it develop -- for example, he calls for further collaboration between Skillset and the game industry in order to establish accreditation of industry courses.
"It is also important for industry to engage and collaborate with academia and vice versa for their common benefit, replicating, for example, the success of Abertay University’s relationship with local games development studios," Livingstone adds.
Abertay University praised the review, its recommendations as well as the recognition of its working model: "Through our Dare Schools competition, and the game development workshops for school children at our Dare ProtoPlay festival each summer, we’re constantly working to stress the importance of maths and physics to careers in the creative industries," noted Abertay's Dr. Louis Natanson.