The Government is looking into the ‘enormous potential’ for esports in the UK as part of a new DCMS inquiry

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has formed a Committee to explore the potential for esports in the UK, among other tech trends.

The inquiry will also examine the growth of 'immersive and addictive' technologies. Specifically, the DCMS Committee will look at the impact virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) could have in the worlds of sport, entertainment and news, and 'how the addictive nature of some technologies' can affect users’ engagement with gaming and social media.

In terms of esports, the Committee wants to explore the future of competitive gaming in the UK.

Some of the questions they've asked in this Parliament.uk post, specifically around esports, include: "What is the future for the industry, in terms of future growth, ethics and regulation? How might the links between traditional sports and their electronic counterparts be strengthened?"

The Committee will also look at the links between video games and gambling, the effects of in-game spending, especially on children, and whether it needs stronger monitoring or regulation. It's also going to ask the question: 'What challenges and opportunities do gaming and esports offer the gambling industry and how should that be managed?'

Damian Collins, Chair of the DCMS Committee, said: "The way we interact with cutting-edge technologies is life-changing for our generation and generations to come. We have the opportunity now to shape that development, setting an agenda that benefits our economy and how we spend our leisure time, while ensuring the right safeguards are built in.

 

"We’re seeing industries emerge that offer enormous potential for growth such as esports and gaming, where the UK is rightly regarded as a world leader in production. We’ll be looking at what action is needed to ensure we remain a key player."
Damian Collins, DCMS Committee

 

"We’re seeing industries emerge that offer enormous potential for growth such as esports and gaming, where the UK is rightly regarded as a world leader in production. We’ll be looking at what action is needed to ensure we remain a key player."

The news comes just days after the Government announced plans to pump more than £20m into the UK’s creative industries, including a £200,000 investment to boost Digital Schoolhouse, a programme by UK games industry trade body Ukie which focuses on the computing curriculum and also includes a school esports league.

Last month, the DCMS said that the UK games industry contributed £1bn to the UK economy in 2017. However, Ukie says the actual figure is even higher, as government research uses Standard Industrial Classification codes which apparently do not include around half of the games businesses in the UK.

Over the past year or so, the Government has slowly become more aware of esports in the UK, with the likes of Creative Industries Minister Margot James supporting the industry here. She supports Women in Games and has commented on major events here like Dota 2's ESL One Birmingham (pictured), which is returning for 2019.

On that specific event and the work of ESL, she said: "ESL's presence here is a great boost for the Midlands region and further proof that esports in the UK is going from strength to strength."

The DCMS Committee is asking for evidence from 'the public, organisations and others with relevant expertise' to help with the inquiry, including info on esports. There's more details on the official Parliament.uk post here.

 

Image credit: ESL Dota 2 Twitter

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