ELSPA’s new role in UK development

31 01 2007

Earlier this month ELSPA published its manifesto for 2007, revealing plans to modernise the organisation and work more closely with members.

The move comes less than six months after Paul Jackson took over from Roger Bennett as ELSPA director general. Jackson, who formerly worked at Electronic Arts and has been a member of the ELSPA board for more than 12 years, took on the role in August last year.

Following the recent announcement, GamesIndustry.biz sat down with Jackson to find out more about what needs to change at ELSPA and what challenges the organisation now faces – plus how it will attempt to tackle piracy following the closure of the Evesham office and several investigator redundancies.

full interview here.

Highlights:
When announcing the changes, you stated that ELSPA wants to engage more with the industry. What does this mean?

I think we need to engage more clearly and effectively with our members. The industry has grown rapidly and we need to make sure that we’re meeting and talking with everybody – so it’s not just the board and I who are deciding what ELSPA does.

We also need to engage much more fully in two areas. Firstly in the political arena – we’ve started this process but we need to develop it more aggressively, not just with Government ministers but with shadow spokespeople and Lib Dem spokespeople.

We need to understand where the political consensus is going and be able to affect the political consensus going forward.

Shaun Woodward, the minister for creative industries and tourism, has been in the news recently saying that we should have a “games academy” to train people up. However, some people in the industry have questioned whether there’s a need for such an institution. Where does ELSPA stand?.

At the moment we’re seeking opinion within the industry. There’s a need to make sure that we have a strong and effective pool of talent to keep our development studios fully staffed – that we have enough talent coming through.

We’re not sure what the best way might be of doing that or if there’s a consensus about it. So we’re trying to understand what the industry consensus is and we’re trying to work with Shaun to find out what the best course of action is.

To summarise, what are ELSPA’s key goals now? Where does the organisation need to go next?

There are two key things I want to achieve over the next three years. I want to ensure that the agency is fully engaged in all those areas that a mature entertainment industry is engaged. I want to make sure we’re engaged in the political debate, the public arena; I want to make sure that we’ve got strong industry cultural events ns that will enable us to show our full worth.

Secondly, I want to make sure that ELSPA itself is very professionally organised and ready to help support the industry in all of those things.

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