The Content Fund: Unlocking Opportunities for UK Game Developers

In a significant move for the UK gaming industry, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced an additional £5 million for the UK Games Fund, known as the Content Fund. This initiative is a part of the broader Creative Industries Sector Vision, a collaborative effort between the government and the industry to foster growth, nurture talent, and enhance skills in the creative sectors.

Funding for Commercial Games Development:

The Content Fund offers a financial boost to UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in the development of commercial games for entertainment. Grants range from £50,000 to £150,000, creating substantial opportunities for game developers to bring their creative visions to life.

Flexibility with Rolling Deadlines:

The Content Fund operates with a rolling deadline for applications. However, there may be brief application portal closures of ten to fourteen days during batch reviews. It’s essential to apply as early as possible, particularly for the financial year 2023/24, as there are fixed allocations for different fiscal years.

Past Recipients Welcome:

If your company has received funding from the Content Fund previously, it doesn’t exclude you from reapplying. In such cases, the fund expects applicants to present a compelling case illustrating the positive impact of their previous grant on their journey and how it contributes to the new application.

Applicant Company Requirements:

To be eligible for the Content Fund, your company should be a UK registered SME with PAYE employees engaged in game development in the UK. Ownership should be explicitly outlined, with UK-based founder-directors as significant shareholders. The total of previous grants and other subsidies over a three-year fiscal period should not exceed £315,000. Furthermore, your company should be in a stable financial position without facing extraordinary working capital challenges.

Development Approach and Project Requirements:

The development approach should focus on a mix of existing and new employees, with a preference for employed staff over contracting. Additionally, the project should have a positive impact on under-representation within the development team and a commitment to addressing diversity issues. The project itself must include a prototype, and its intellectual property (IP) should be owned by the applicant or licensed under suitable terms. Importantly, the project should aim for a commercial games-for-entertainment focus with potential for a wide-scale audience.

Leveraging Resources:

For a successful application, the project’s overall costs should be at least double the requested grant, and the application should demonstrate strong additionality – how the grant will make a meaningful difference, unlocking additional resources or relationships.

Funding Process:

Once selected, grantees will receive the full grant in advance of project commencement, usually within four weeks of contract completion. Monthly progress reports will be required, along with a final impact survey and an accountant-certified financial report covering all project expenses. The fund aims to develop “foundership” in the indie games sector and will run an external evaluation in parallel.

Monitoring and Real-time Reporting:

Applicants should anticipate monthly progress reports and periodic update videos, financial summaries, and growth trajectory assessments. You’ll be required to submit a closing financial report certified by a chartered accountant, with the project expenditure set in the context of the whole company finances. Plus Accounting, a chartered accountancy practice, are equipped to support your studio in the financial reporting process.

In conclusion, the Content Fund presents a valuable opportunity for UK-based game developers to access financial support, fostering innovation and growth in the gaming industry. With a commitment to transparency and strong partnerships with companies like Plus Accounting, this initiative is set to make a significant impact on the creative gaming landscape in the UK. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or an emerging talent, this funding could be the catalyst to take your game development aspirations to the next level.

Get in touch with Chris Morey, Audit & Assurance Director to discuss the financial reporting required to support this process.

Author: Chris Morey, Audit & Assurance Director, Plus Accounting

Some of the information from this blog has been taken from the UK Games Fund website

Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal, belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Plus Accounting. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.

Date published: 30 October 2023

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