National Videogame Foundation to merge with British Games Institute

Nottingham, 21 February: The National Videogame Foundation, including the National Videogame Arcade, is merging with the British Games Institute (BGI).

The BGI is a new national games agency supported by games trade bodies TIGA and Ukie, and over 500 games, investment, arts and education organisations. The BGI has been designed to raise new funds for games initiatives from public and private sources to achieve four key objectives:

  1. To encourage the development of the art, science and technology of games throughout the UK;
  2. To research and promote games’ impact on and reflection of British culture;
  3. To gather and share the artistic, technical and commercial expertise in games production;
  4. To promote and increase diversity and inclusion in the UK games sector.

The combined organisation will continue to deliver the Foundation’s existing programme of games cultural projects, including the Arcade, its research, its educational and other projects, within the BGI’s Culture Programme. The NVF’s Iain Simons will become the BGI’s Culture Director, working with the BGI’s CEO Rick Gibson. The BGI will be headquartered inside the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham.

The BGI works in collaboration with a wide range of partners to put the UK games sector at the heart of Britain’s cultural and digital agenda. The NVF is a non-profit organisation funded by the public and receives grants from the Arts Council of England, the British Council, British Academy and Creative Scotland amongst other public funding sources. The BGI is independently governed and will not be funded by company membership fees.

Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome Iain and his outstanding team into the BGI. Apart from running the finest playable museum in the country, Iain and his colleagues have an unparalleled track record in games culture. They have produced the Gamecity Festival since 2006 and publish world-leading academic research into the interpretation and curation of games. They are also deeply embedded in the national and international network of arts and research organisations interested in funding digital culture. We know they will turbo-charge the BGI towards ambitious new programmes in collaboration with the best games and arts initiatives countrywide.”

Iain Simons, Culture Director of the BGI, said: “By joining the BGI, we are building the national centre of gravity for games culture that our sector vitally needs. We have a proud record at the NVA, having welcomed over 100,000 visitors to our museum in the Midlands. The NVA teaches thousands of children via hundreds of school visits about how games are made and what they mean. We also work with parents, schools, universities, arts bodies and games studios on a growing range of initiatives. Our young persons’ programme Pixelheads is rolling out into scores of schools and arts centres this year to teach kids and families about games as cultural products to be appreciated in their own right, while helping children and their parents identify career paths into games.”

Ian Livingstone CBE, Chairman of the BGI, said: “I’ve been involved with the NVF for many years as a big fan and supporter of their work. I co-founded the BGI with Rick Gibson in 2016, and I’m delighted that the BGI and NVF are coming together to form a new organisation that champions the UK video games industry’s impact as an art form and its contribution to the UK economy. There needs to be greater understanding of the investment and career opportunities in what is now the largest entertainment industry in the world with global revenues exceeding $100 Billion per annum. I believe the BGI will extend the industry’s cultural reach, help increase levels of investment, and win new funds for games culture, skills and production which our studios need to remain world-class.”

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