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UK makes major VR pledge in £150m Creative Industries Sector Deal

The UK government has made a major commitment to virtual reality (VR) and immersive technologies as part its Creative Industries Sector Deal.

Unveiled yesterday, the deal will see the government and industry jointly invest more than £150 million to help cultural and creative business thrive across Britain.

As part of this, the Sector Deal aims to double Britain’s share of the global creative immersive content market by 2025, which is tipped to be worth more than £30 billion by this date.

The government has pledged £33 million of funding for immersive technologies such VR video games, interactive art shows and augmented reality experiences in tourism.

This £33m will be invested over three years via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with the government estimating that the creative industries will provide expertise and “at least £25m in co-investment” to support the programme.

“We anticipate this investment could lead to a significant boost in generation of immersive content in the UK, cementing our place as a dominant market leader in the creative immersive sector,” said the government’s industrial strategy report.

 “The challenge aims to ensure that 10% of global creative immersive content is made in the UK by 2025 and that the UK will double its share of global investment in immersive technologies from a baseline of 5% in 2016 to 10% in 2025.”

The Sector Deal includes a total of £72 million investment in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, of which £39m will go the Arts and Humanities Research Council to support eight creative research and development partnerships.

Some £2 million will also be spent to extend the ‘Get it Right’ campaign to tackle online piracy and educate consumers on the value of copyright and direct them to legitimate websites.

“Britain’s creative industries are an economic and cultural powerhouse and this ambitious deal will make sure they continue to thrive as we build a Britain fit for the future,” said secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Matt Hancock.

“Our creative industries will help develop the talent of the future, ensure people are rightly rewarded for their creative content and give our firms the support they need to compete on the global stage.

“Millions of people around the world enjoy our world-class artistic and cultural output and we want Britain to stay a front-runner in these vibrant sectors.”