The Tories' Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey was also on hand to pledge his party's support for the UK games industry, attacking Gordon Brown's government for what he sees as a clear lack of faith in the flourishing sector.
Vaizey stressed that he plans to promote a culture of 'investment and risk-taking' under a Conservative Government. He also wants to extend the remit of the UK's Film Council to cover games and give the industry the "national voice it deserves."
Labour not 'getting' games
The Tory MP also took the opportunity to criticise Labour, telling the BAFTA audience: "As in so many other areas, Labour ministers simply do not seem to care that we are falling behind our competitors in a critically important economic growth area."
"Gordon Brown's economic mis-management means the UK government simply has not had the fiscal headroom to offer the kind of support that has been available in some other countries. But just because they cannot offer tax breaks, does not excuse them actively doing down the industry," said the Shadow Culture Minister.
"NESTA's research suggests the UK videogames sector could shrink by 16.5 per cent over five years, resulting in the loss of more than GBP 180 million in external investment and nearly 1700 jobs," he added. "I would love nothing more than to work with you to facilitate the investment and risk-taking the industry needs... Britain is broke, but this creates an opportunity to shape policies that assist the high tech entrepreneurs that will drive our economy in the future. The video games sector must play a key part in this."
Tough words from the Tories. And with the general election looming at some point in 2010, the party could well have a lot of support from British games developers and publishing execs, unless Labour rapidly changes tack and realises the party political points to be gained in actively supporting one of Britain's fastest-moving industries.
For more on the London Games Festival 2009 programme head over to http://www.londongamesfestival.co.uk