Daniel Zeichner MP has today voiced concerns for the video games sector, as both the EU Commission and the UK Government prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Cambridge hosts a number of highly successful video-games companies, and their trade body warns that no-deal, stopping international data flows, would be calamitous.

The European Commission recently released a document outlining the issues that a no-deal Brexit would create for data transfer, as “once EU law ceases to apply to the United Kingdom, the transfer of personal data from the EU to the United Kingdom will still be possible, but it will be subject to specific conditions set in EU law”. It goes on to explain that “if the United Kingdom’s level of personal data protection is essentially equivalent to that of the EU, the Commission would adopt an adequacy decision which allows for transfer of personal data to the United Kingdom without restrictions”. This, of course, requires continued regulatory alignment, a concept much-criticised by some vocal hard Brexiteers.

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge and Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Video Games, comments “we are risking a serious act of self-harm. In my constituency, we have fantastic games developers like Ninja Theory and Jagex which produce Bafta-winning games. By risking a no-deal Brexit, we could seriously damage this sector’s success. Certainty is key to attracting and keeping these companies in the UK, and keeping games online; it is very dangerous indeed to not prioritise a data adequacy deal.”

“The UK video games sector has revenue of over £5 billion, and Virtual Reality is growing at around 34% annually. This is an industry of huge potential, and we cannot risk a hard Brexit which ignores data flows, and the opportunity to stay online, and keep playing with friends around the world.”

UKIE, the video games trade body, say: “A no deal on data transfer would be calamitous for the games sector who rely on a robust and reliable legal basis for cross-border data flow. Data is of fundamental importance to the video games industry. The interaction and associated data flows between players, games and gaming platforms is intrinsic to the proper operation of games, the provision of fair, safe and ethical games, and immersive and interactive gameplay experiences for players. Not being able to do this would risk isolating UK players, prevent publishers releasing  games in the UK and would increase costs, reduce investment, innovation and competition for UK games businesses. “

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