Brexit’s uncertainty may dampen short term investment in VR and high tech

Brexit’s uncertainty may dampen short term investment in VR and high tech
Rachael Power is an editor at TechForge Media, writing about marketing tech, connected cars and virtual reality. She has written for a number of online and print titles including the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, accountingWEB and BusinessZone. Rachael has a passion for digital marketing, journalism, gaming and fitness, and is on Twitter at: @rachpower10.

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Brexit may cause short term uncertainty, leading to a dampening of investment available for virtual reality projects and in other high tech areas, according to the CEO of TIGA.

As the UK is faced with an EU exit and markets still haven't calmed down yet, many in the tech industry are concerned about what it will mean for the sector as a whole. 

But Dr Richard Wilson, head of video games industry trade association TIGA, says if the government makes the country favourable to do business with, the uncertainty should calm down. 

"If the government provides a clear vision for the UK’s future, creates a favourable tax and investment regime, and ensures that the UK can continue to access highly skilled workers from overseas, then uncertainty can be replaced with confidence," he tells VRTech News.

“Fundamentally, the UK is a good place to do business: The UK is governed by the rule of law, there are secure property rights, the tax environment is broadly favourable to business, we have access to highly skilled graduates from an excellent higher education sector and we have an impressive history of developing successful IPs in video games.

"We now have to build on these solid foundations to ensure that VR, the creative industries and the wider UK economy go from strength to strength," Dr Wilson added. 

In light of the vote, TIGA's also published a list of potential issues facing the video games industry, along with expert information from Grant Thornton and Weightmans including:

  • Access to finance: TIGA says difficulty accessing capital has consistently been the top factor holding back many games developers. "In an uncertain economic environment, there may be a reduced appetite for investment. Additionally, outside of the EU, the UK games industry will not be able to access schemes such as Creative Europe and Horizon 2020 programmes. The UK Government should promote policies that encourage investment, maintain sector specific schemes such as the Video Games Prototype Fund and consider a Games Investment Fund to help start-ups and small businesses," they added. 
  • A favourable tax environment: In a post Brexit world it will be even more vital to maintain, improve and enhance Video Games and R&D tax reliefs in order to attract external investment and to maintain the competitiveness of the sector, TIGA said.
  • Access to talent: "The UK video games industry relies on a highly skilled workforce to compete. Until now, the industry has had access to a substantial pool of skilled EU workers who can work in the UK without serious administrative restrictions.  Brexit is likely to result in new immigration rules requiring employers to secure some sort of visa and to meet certain skills/salary criteria in order to employ migrant workers.  It is vital that any new arrangements are not onerous or complex and that industry is not heldback by skills shortages," the body said.
  • Intellectual Property: "IP is the lifeblood of the video games industry and the impact of ‘Brexit’ here could be significant," it concluded

It's clear there are many areas, and not just tech, that the government needs to give clear consideration to. But as the fallout from last week's vote continues, we'll only really know just what kind impact it'll have after we regain least some polticial stability.

What are your thoughts on Brexit and how it's going to affect the video games and VR industry? in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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