Joris Dormans (March 15th, 2005)
In September the College of Breda, The Netherlands will start a new course on computer game design. The city of Breda initiated a study that researched the possibility of starting such a course. The result were positive as both companies and potential students showed interest and supported the idea. The fledgling games-industry in The Netherlands hopes increase its base of able employees, the city of Breda and The Netherlands as a whole hope to get a part of the gaming pie. Gaming revenue is estimated to yield 100 billion before the end of the decade.
Off course the Dutch government applauds the developments. Secretary of state Karien van Gennip was willing to comment on Dutch National Radio that brought the news (March 15th, 2005). She praised the game industry's hip and creative images. Stressed that the industry has very positive effects on related industries such as utilitarian software development. It will enhance the general reputation of the sciences and hopefully stimulate more youngsters to seek a profession in that direction.
When asked specifically about what the Dutch government will do to stimulate the game industry in The Netherlands mrs. Van Gennip aptly dodged the question. She mentioned something about the "providing quality office areas", "making those easy to reach", and "lifting environmental restrictions where needed"! Forgetting that we already have plenty of offices, and that the hip and young game designers probably prefer to live in the city, she was already planning new roads to attract and stimulate an industry that doesn't really need them. Indeed, it is the will of the central-right government to stimulate the economy at any cost, and it is willing to sell a general economic policy over a very specific cause. You could as easily call for good public transportation, cheap housing in Amsterdam, and creating university level gaming jobs as effective measures to stimulate the hip and young industry (and incidentally these fit my personal agenda much better).
When the interviewer mentioned that so far the most successful steps in the preferred direction have been taken by the cities of Breda and Utrecht by investing government money in setting up academies where the countries young can learn the trade, mrs. Van Gennip only mentioned that such things are better left to the market. In the same documentary a teacher from the School of Art and Technology in Utrecht stressed that a Dutch or European game industry, if it would hope to compete with the American and Japanese giants, best focuses on innovative design. And rightly so! In my book, innovative design flourishes from small companies that would not really be able to fund game academies. The big businesses that could, would be too conservative to really compete. But of course being conservative (and being short-sighted) are defining characteristics of our current government.