Games4eU's open letter to our industry
To our peers, colleagues, customers, and friends
We are writing to you, united in diversity, as the Brexit clock heavily ticks away the days before our due departure from the EU. Now is the time to support Games4EU, and help us bring about a People’s Vote to stop the clock: to stop Brexit.
"United in diversity" is the motto of the European Union, and one that could be easily adopted and championed by the UK interactive entertainment industry where over 2260 companies of all sizes currently employ more than 47,000 people, of which 34% are workers from the EU.
Our industry encompasses video games, board games, AR and VR products, esports and interactive broadcast. Everything we make and sell is truly enriched by, and is a reflection of the diverse creativity, cultures, languages, and traditions of all those people, that when combined with the benefits of EU membership, have enabled us to become the 5th largest video game market in the world. That’s no mean feat for such a small island, and demonstrates that our strength and success comes from being united!
The access and comfort of EU benefits has resulted in an unrivalled collaborative spirit that defines and lights up our industry, and has allowed us to create with wild abandon our best work, shared easily with the whole world.
We value the freedom to live, work, and love in 28 countries without visa and immigration restrictions. Our industry enjoys the mutual recognition of qualifications and skills from across the EU. European Union law has led on creating equal pay rights between men and women. We get paid annual leave, rights to a minimum 18 weeks of parental leave after childbirth, anti-discrimination laws governing age, religion, and sexual orientation, and rules governing health and safety at work. Through the EU we are at the forefront of data sharing, consumer rights, digital regulation, and more.
Meanwhile, around £730M a year of EU money is spent on research and development in the UK and our industry’s digital agenda is being developed regionally with support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). EU cross-country coordination offers our consumers greater protection, allowing them to shop without frontiers, giving them more power to shape and grow our market.
Brexit as outlined in our guide not only poses a formidable threat to our industry, leaving us in limbo with no influence in the EU at a time when the Digital Single Market and other significant changes are being crafted, but ultimately will strip our industry of the very things we, a global community, pride ourselves on; compassion, collaboration, cultural relevance, and a foreseeable future for anyone that loves video games to make and play them as they wish.
We urge everyone reading this and nodding along to stop and consider what they stand to lose if Brexit happens.
Our industry, and the UK economy as a whole, is not prepared for a no deal, nor could it ever be. Such unprecedented uncertainty is holding back spending on durables like cars and housing, as well as video games, and is already causing us to struggle in recruiting passionate superstars to keep our industry thriving. This updated guide shows the devastating impact Brexit has already had, and acts as a tough reminder of what is yet to come.
The ‘Fog of Brexit’ has meant our industry has been too passive in conversations about Brexit for too long. We understand how uncomfortable and sad it must be for senior figures and heads of studios in the industry to even hint at moving their operations and leaving the UK for fear of ‘spooking’ our workforce or potential future hires, or who struggle to justify and explain to fans how Brexit will impact them, or to publicly acknowledge that they simply have no response to the chaos.
But opting to quietly observe how Brexit unfolds, inevitably steamrolling its way towards and over us as we lie in the path of least resistance is an irresponsible disservice to us all when Brexit is NOT a done deal!
Games4EU was founded to give our industry a voice about why EU membership is good for the UK, to demonstrate the harm that Brexit will do to our sector, and to bring people together to fight for the future. We must continue to openly discuss Brexit, even if it reveals our deepest, most unsettling fears. We know the intricacies of the EU and Brexit can become tiresome at times, and we acknowledge that the European Union isn’t perfect, but we know that leaving it will make us poorer, economically and culturally. We also know that UK politics are maddeningly complicated, and that it’s so easy to feel like nothing we do makes a difference. But it does! Our efforts over the last several months have shown that our voice is being heard - we can’t let up now!
That is why we will continue to publish our Brexit guides and resources, organise campaigns to write to MPs, and talk to industry leaders and press, as well as government figures (who have told us to keep up the fight). Above all, we are fighting for a People’s Vote to give the final say on Brexit back to the people, whatever the outcome (although we will fight for Remain). Together, we stand resolute that we can and should be the industry that refused to settle as being anything less than the amazing, united in diversity ecosystem that we are now.
Jas Purewal, George Osborn, and Tracey McGarrigan
Directors, Games4EU, February 2019