British game developers have been lobbying for tax breaks some time. And, based on yesterday’s release of the Digital Britain report, the Government seems to finally be listening.
But, as reported by The Guardian, tax breaks proposed for game developers by Lord Carter’s report may come with cultural strings attached:
The [Digital Britain] report also contains the fascinating sentence in its executive summary…: "The Government has therefore committed to work with the industry to collect and review the evidence for a tax relief to promote the sustainable production for online or physical sale of culturally British video games.
Culturally British. We suspect we know what they mean – games companies based in the UK – but what if it’s not? What if they actually mean something like, for example and completely hypothetically, Grand Theft Auto: Weston-super-Mare?
Or Left 4 Dead: The Light Brigade?
Come on, what would you suggest as a "culturally British" computer game that we could offer to Lord Carter?
GP: Actually, there are some precedents for the cultural requirement recommended by Digital Britain. As GamePolitics reported in 2007, France imposed a similar restriction. The French Government requires that game projects seeking tax breaks have a "cultural dimension."
In the U.S., the state of Texas has content-based restrictions on its game and movie subsidies.