At Ask About Games, we're all about family gaming, getting the most out of content appropriate for youngsters, and recognising the potential of playing games beyond simply having fun.
So you might not expect to see us reporting on this week's UK Budget. But at Ask About Games towers, we're going to start to do more coverage on what the games medium offers youngsters in terms of careers.
For one, the UK is a world leader in making and publishing games of every kind, and there are a wide variety of good, well-paid jobs to be found in the industry. Whether your child dreams of a career in art, music, writing, coding or more, there's a chance they might find work that they love in games.
Equally, as every future career becomes technological, whatever your youngsters' adulthoods hold, they will need to be tech savvy. As such, studying how to make games in school and elsewhere offers a way to engage kids with science, mathematics, technology, coding and creativity via a medium they love. They might not be beguiled by a high flying non-gaming career right now, but studying how games are made at school will certainly prepare them for when they do consider such a job.
So you can expect lots from us soon: spotlights on roles in the games industry that might inspire your children to get studious at school; uncomplicated looks at the path needed to go from student to games maker; even inspiring tips for teenagers getting interested in making games when they're already a way through the education system.
But what does all this have to do with the Budget? In recent years UK Government – and political parties of every leaning – have started to see the value of supporting the games industry, and of putting games on school curriculums. Games bring a huge amount into the UK economy – £38 billion a year at the last count – and also provide tens of thousands of jobs, ready kids for a technology-heavy future, and are growing at such a rate the gains are set to multiply.
There are pros and cons to the new Budget, of course. But where the future of games is concerned, there's lots to be optimistic about. Most significantly the UK Games Fund – which our friends at UK worked hard to help make a reality – has been delivered £1 million to extend the initiative until 2020. There were also gains where computer science and maths education, research and development tax credits for games and funding of technology projects are concerned. The short of it is, the future of the UK as a games industry powerhouse is on the right track.
"These measures show that the government is committed to small businesses around the UK that are innovation driven, such as the games sector," said Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, a video games trade body that helps represent the industry and medium to government, other businesses and the wider public – while also contributing to make Ask About Games reality.
"We also welcome the investment in maths and computer science teaching which provides a critical talent pipeline to the industry," Twist added.
And that's why we're talking about the budget here on Ask About Games. There's reasons to be optimistic about a diversity of youngsters today having a promising, exciting and often well-paid future working with something they love; games. And pursuing that future might help them be a little more devoted at school today, and a touch more enthusiastic about learning as they go forward.
So do check back in here over the coming weeks for a range of articles looking at how to engage your youngsters with those opportunities, and help them make the decisions needed to enjoy a prosperous future enjoying their day job.