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New industry-led group to drive growth in digital games sector – Minister Bruton

Minister announces establishment of Clustering Development Team to drive creation of 2,500 digital games jobs by end 2014

An industry-led group tasked with driving the development of the fast-growing digital games sector is to hold its first meeting today at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Minister Richard Bruton TD announced today.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has established a Clustering Development Team for the Games Sector, chaired by Paul Breslin of Popcap, with Internet entrepreneur Dylan Collins as vice chair. The team also comprises representatives of other leading Irish and multinational games companies based in Ireland, as well as representatives of relevant Government bodies.

The group will be tasked with driving the implementation of recommendations of the October 2011 Forfás report on the games sector, which targeted the creation of an additional 2,500 jobs in the sector by end 2014.

Today’s announcement represents the delivery of a key measure contained in Action Plan for Jobs 2012.

Making the announcement, Minister Bruton said:

“A key part of the Government’s plan for growth and employment is targeting sectors where Ireland has the potential to grow large numbers of jobs. These are sectors where, because of companies already located here, because of research being carried out here, because of the talent base we have or for other reasons, we have competitive advantage and therefore have the capability to attract more multinational companies, grow more indigenous companies, and ultimately create more jobs.

“Digital games is clearly one such sector. Not only do we have a base of ICT companies here which is the envy of many other countries, but we are fast developing an expertise in digital games specifically which can be a foundation for major jobs growth. The games sector here has expanded fivefold since 2004 and now employs approximately 2,500 people here – and continues to grow worldwide at a rate of 8 per cent annually. A major Government report has targeted the establishment of a further 2,500 jobs by end 2014, and recommended the establishment of an industry-led group to drive implementation of measures necessary to achieve that goal. Today we have delivered on that recommendation.

“The task now is to sustain the momentum we have created in this sector and see through the creation of the jobs we need. I am convinced that, driven by the industry experts who have agreed to serve on this group, that can now become a reality”.





Membership of the Clustering Development Team is as follows:

Mr Paul Breslin, General Manager, Popcap, Chair

Mr Dylan Collins formerly Jolt and Demonware, Vice Chair

Mr Tony Kelly, CEO, Demonware

Ms Eibhlin Payne, CS Director, Blizzard

Mr Nicolas Pajot, COO, Gala

Mr Richard Barnwell, CEO, Digit Games

Mr John Rice, CEO, Jam Media

Mr Steven Collins, CTO, Swrve

Mr David Sweeney, CEO, Games Ireland

Ms Laoise Mc Cluskey, IDA Ireland

Mr Ray Walsh, Enterprise Ireland

Ms Maria Ginnity, Forfás

Mr Muiris O’ Connor/Mr Tim Conlon, Higher Education Authority

Ms Jacinta Stewart, CEO City of Dublin VEC

Bryan Fields, FÁS

Mr Stephen Curran, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Mr Ronnie Breen, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Mr Stephen Walsh, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Terms of Reference

The primary task of the CDT will be to influence and/or drive implementation of the recommendations contained in the Forfas report. Two key overarching objectives are fundamental to achieving progress in developing the sector:

§ Driving ‘on-the-ground’ collaboration and networking – the CDT will proactively develop relationships between the foreign and indigenous cohort of games companies, start-ups and well established MNCs, industry and HEIs, games companies and related sectors etc.

§ Influencing the policy system – the CDT will have a key role in bringing about a change of thinking and approaches in relation to policy development for the games sector and related digital economy activities for the longer term.

Action Plan for Jobs: Digital Games

Relevant sections from Action Plan for Jobs 2012 include the following:

“Growth in the core games sector is also likely to have a wider impact in related activities – such as animation, tv/film production, advertising, e–learning, and the range of supporting services that are now an integral part of the games landscape.

“The key areas of opportunity for Ireland are:

· Growing activity in creative development.

· Building on a strong track record in customer engagement and support.

· Promoting Ireland as a global centre for IP exploitation/exchange.

· Continuing to grow innovative technology and middleware start–ups.

· HQ/global business services activities.

“Ireland’s games sector can differentiate itself globally as a vibrant and well connected cluster – taking advantage the country’s small size and agility within a progressive and digitally advanced operating environment.

“The overriding theme in any analysis of the games sector is that of continuing uncertainty and

change and there is the inherent challenge in forecasting what and from where the next

disruptive force will come. There is considerable turbulence within the sector globally as the

major players chase scarce creative talent and seek to grow their share of expanding online

and mobile markets. Ireland’s current position of growth in this context is not assured in the

future, and there is intense and often aggressive competition globally for talent.

“Key challenges for Ireland include the following:

· The ability to attract (and grow) requisite talent in an intensely globally competitive environment with expertise and capabilities across the domains of creativity, technology and business acumen.

· The ongoing need to ensure availability of appropriate skills; including technical skills in areas such as programming (Java, C++), electronic engineering and IC design; relevant support skills, including languages and customer support; and the expertise to manage increasingly complex business models across geographically dispersed value chains.

· Availability of competitively priced, high speed broadband telecommunications.

· Availability of tailored funding especially at concept development stage.

· Need for deeper engagement with Irish HEIs in relation to research in analytics, next generation localisation, graphics/visualisation, sensor technologies etc”

Under the Action Plan for Jobs, the Government has prioritised actions in the digital games sector to be implemented in 2012 as follows:

· 7.7.2 Convene an R&D supports workshop to promote awarenesss about available R&D supports and issue an enterprise friendly guide on R&D tax credits to include examples of relevance to games companies. For action by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland;

· 7.7.3 Support industry in working with third level institutions to introduce a pilot game development/publishing “hothouse” inititaive for undergraduate and Post Leaving Certificate courses. The inititaive will bring together, in multi disciplinary teams, students from games, multimedia and animation courses (from a range of participating PLC and third level colleges) to work together on a game development project for a defined period. Each of the teams will receive mentor support from industry practitioners. For action by CDT with Industry;

· 7.7.4 Undertake a feasibility study to examine what structures and policies could be developed to make Ireland a world centre for managing and trading in intellectual property. Complete the report of the Copyright Review Committee on barriers to innovation. For action by DJEI and DJE;

· 7.7.5 Assess the case for a new financial instrument/relief to incentivise creative content development. For action by DJEI; and,

· 7.7.6 Progress measures in realtion to Next Generation Broadband. For action by DCENR.