Who is Interactive Entertainment South Africa?
Interactive Entertainment South Africa (often shortened to IESA) is a non-profit company that is mandated to lobbying, develop policy and help grow the local game, serious games, simulation, board-game, augmented reality and VR industries. In real terms this means we draft responses to legislation, advise on policy, conduct research and meet with government, foreign bodies and investors to ensure that the legal, economic, social and political environments are the best they can possibly be to ensure that the industry thrives. IESA also recognizes that the games industry is international and as such has good relationships with other international industry bodies and other game development organisations like UKIE and IGDA.
Do I need to join IESA if I want to make games in South Africa?
No. We are a completely voluntary organisation, though we hope the benefits we provide to our members and the industry as a whole would persuade you to join.
Is IESA a non-profit?
Yes, IESA is a registered non-profit company with members in terms of the Companies Act 78 of 2008.
Why is IESA a non-profit?
Since non-profit companies do not have shareholders and are not profit driven it ensures that no one company or member has control over the direction of the organisation, and that we can pursue our goals unfettered. It also means that some of our activities will qualify for tax exemption which means we can ensure that as much of our funds are directed towards pursuing our goals as possible.
How is IESA funded?
IESA is a 100% funded by its membership fees. Where possible we try to subsidise our activities by entering into partnerships and sponsorships with other corporates and NGO’s.
Does IESA have any private or public investors or backers?
No. Beyond the private entities that make up our membership base we have no other investors. We are always looking to partner with other organisations for specific projects. If you have a project that you would like us to work with you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can join IESA?
IESA is targeted at companies or sole proprietors who work in the game, serious game and VR industries, we are not exclusively for developers, and welcome any organisation that is involved in the value chain of these industries. We also have a membership tier aimed at students.
Your membership fees seem really expensive, what do you do with the money?
Our budget for each year is published on our website. The vast majority of our fees goes to pay the salaries of our employees. As we are a young organisation we must focus on our core operations. The lobbying work is very time consuming and we believe it is only fair that the people working on these efforts get remunerated appropriately. As our membership grows we hope to be able reduce our fees and also expand our projects. We are also very aware that our fees will be out of reach for many potential organisations, but the reality is we need money, quite a lot of it, in order to perform our operations. We like to see this foundation phase of the organisation as an opportunity for well-established organisations in the industry to give back to the broader community in a meaningful way that will benefit the industry as a whole.
It is also important to note that we have consciously chosen to avoid being subsidised directly by the government. A lobby group cannot function effectively if the person it is lobbying against is also its paymaster.
Lastly we are confident that our fees reflect the value that we add to the industry, and we have based them on the value that we believe that studios will be able to afford and we can justify. The student membership fee is relatively high since it needs to cover the entry fee to the IGDA (which is US$30).
I’m very interested in the IESA trade missions, do I need to be a member to benefit from it?
Yes. All IESA does is act as an agent to get access to funding. The trade mission for example is done in terms of the DTI’s EMIA funding, anyone can apply to the DTI for this funding. IESA is applying for the funding on behalf of its members, so the mission is for its members first and foremost since they are the one who have paid for IESA to do the work.
When we lobby for changes to funding or to get access to grants for example, it will work on similar lines. We want to enable better access to funding and subsidies for the whole industry, regardless of whether they are IESA members or not. Once that funding exists, IESA will, when possible and relevant, apply for that funding on behalf of its members.
I’ve heard IESA wants to negotiate for tax benefits for game development, will I need to be an IESA member to qualify for that?
No. As above, while we are lobbying for tax rebates, the entire industry will benefit from the work we do and not only IESA members.
Does IESA do any socio-economic upliftment work?
Not directly. Currently such schemes would fall out of the mandate and budget of IESA. However, we recognise that the games industry as a whole has transformation issues similar to other “IT” or “Tech” industries spaces. Where possible we partner with other organisations to assist them in their development programs, either by providing funding or knowledge and skills.
We have prioritized the opening of a bursary program to help fund under-privileged students to study game design at a tertiary level.
If you are a non-profit or NGO and are interested in partnering with us please contact us by email at email@example.com
Who currently is in charge of IESA?
Our current CEO is Nicholas Hall, South Africa’s leading digital entertainment lawyer. He is well respected in the industry and government and has provided legal and business advise to some of South Africa’s largest and most successful game development studios. He is also a member of the Video Game Bar Association. Nicholas is answerable to the IESA board which is made up of representatives from the IESA membership.
Where do I sign up?
You can apply for membership online here
If you have any questions, get in touch with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org