Sunday, 22 May 2011

In the Press: Reflections on the NESTA Games Report

A catch up on my press writings. I occasionally write for ComputerWorld UK and I recently wrote on the NESTA report on skills in the games industry. Both the report and my article are worth a read IMHO.

As you can tell, I thought the report was a curate's egg. I found the idea that a sensible league table could be constructed particularly hilarious. I'd say the the largest barrier to the top 5-10% of C++ coding talent from universities going into games is them 'selling out' and taking the better pay and conditions in London's financial services industry. I know of one other leading London CS department that runs an annual games event to persuade their graduates not just to go to banks and consultancies.

Apart from acknowledging the ability of special interest groups to lobby government instead of addressing the problem from their own resources, it to me highlights the futility of trying to manage skills at all in central government as it appears to attract attempts to capture the agenda away from those who really matter - the students!

I suppose the games industry at least didn't ask for tax credits (again!). I find it hard to believe that you can ask for subsidy and say you are a vibrant industry contributing to growth at the same time. If they can't entice the top C++ coding talent to move from productive jobs in financial services without a subsidy, then that talent is better for society working for banks to build the economy. Markets work nicely that way - pay and conditions follow productivity.

The quote below from Frederic Bastiat in his essay 'Government' perhaps says all that needs to be said.

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

As I said in the article, attracting and developing talent is a problem that the games industry has to solve itself.

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