MORE investment is needed to boost Leamington’s ‘rapidly expanding’ ‘Silicon Spa’ gaming cluster, says MP Matt Western.
The Warwick and Leamington MP held a debate in parliament to boost the profile of local companies and take forward their concerns.
Silicon Spa includes more than 30 studios employing some 1,500 people and contributes more than £100million to the regional economy every year.
Mr Western said: “In the last few decades, following inward investment and pioneering innovation, from the Silicon Spring in the 80s has gushed today’s ‘Silicon Spa.’
“Though the gaming sector has been one of the few to continue growing as the rest of our economy grinds to a half, it still requires support to stimulate growth even further.
“The government should consider increasing the rate of Video Games Corporation Tax Relief but also look to expand the UK Games Development Fund.
“I am also hoping to aid the development of the sector’s next bright stars through regional education in engineering and coding and partnerships with universities.
“The gaming industry has thrust Leamington onto a global stage and must be protected at all costs.”
Leamington and surrounding areas are home to the likes of Codemasters, Ubisoft and SEGA.
Classic games such as Far Cry, Little Big Planet and Forza were all conceived and developed in the town.
David Darling founded Codemasters in 1986. The company was then bought by EA for £1.2billion last year.
Mr Darling – who is now the chief executive of Kwalee – said: “Having been involved in the Leamington games industry from the very beginning, it’s amazing to see how much Silicon Spa has grown from the 1980s to now.
“What we would really love to see now is initiatives to improve the reputation of Leamington as a gaming hub across the country, and even globally, to compete with the likes of San Francisco and Bangalore.
“In places like Quebec, where the government awards significant funding up to $1.5million per gaming project, we’ve seen the amazing things that can be created as a result.”