Former IGDA Boss: Tax Breaks Aren't Everything

May 24, 2011 -

Jason Della Rocca, the former IGDA boss and founder of Perimeter Partners, says that the video game industry needs to start thinking globally and stop worrying about local and regional advantages such as tax breaks. The elephant in the room was Canada's tax breaks and how various territories in the Great White North are pealing studios away from the United Kingdom.

Speaking to GameIndustry.biz at the Nordic Game Festival earlier this month, Della Rocca talked at length about tax-breaks and why they are such a small part of a larger eco-system. Della Rocca thinks that chasing tax breaks alone is a waste of energy.

"Well you know, look at California," said Della Rocca when asked about Canada's tax breaks. "They have forty percent of the US industry's workforce. There are no incentives there. Do we say that that pooling is cannibalizing the rest of the country? I mean, it absolutely is - people are coming from all over the world to work at the awesome companies there.

So Canada can also be 'blamed' for maybe recreating a bit of that through the incentives and the job creation demand, but my sense is that it's more rhetoric. 'Look at Canada and all they've done!' Can we actually look at the people and see how many people actually left and went to Canada? I don't get the sense that it's planes full of UK developers.

So are they stealing those people? I don't know. Maybe, but I don't really know. It'd be interesting to look at those numbers and see what sort of effect it has. I'm much more thinking in a global perspective. Although I may help specific governments grow their industry in their country, I want to see the industry be healthy on a global basis. So personally I don't care if you go from one country to another or not."

Della Rocca believes that tax breaks are not as important as an environment that establishes important necessities such as education, infrastructure and the talent that an industry requires.

"The tax-break issue... It's not about the tax-breaks alone. When I talk about the industry I talk about an eco-system kind of metaphor. It's very dynamic, it's a complex system, there's lots going on, it's not clear that introducing a tax-break is going to be the thing that all of a sudden makes your ecosystem thrive.

In fact there are regions where there's nothing - it's a desert. So you say, we have this desert and we'd really like there to be a game industry there because we think it's sexy and good jobs etc. So they look at Canada and say, well, they're doing so well because they have these tax-breaks, let's put a tax-break in our desert."

Della Rocca goes on to say that the UK games industry has a better chance of educating and engaging its membership than it does getting tax relief passed by politicians. He also says that you can't put tax relief in a region that has no talent or structure and expect good results. In his view, the UK should have spent its energy on business acumen and educating developers and publishers on new digital distribution methods and platforms.

In closing he says that trade groups, such as TIGA, don't always focus on what they should:

"Recently, I think in the last few months, TIGA announced some digital distribution training seminar. Great - but they should have done that three years ago. Had they done that three years ago, again, pure speculation, imagine they'd been talking to the UK studios and entrepreneurs and start-ups then. If they'd got started on these platforms three years ago? To me, that would have had much more impact than if they had won tax breaks."

Source: GameIndustry.biz


 
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Andrew EisenI think more professional gamblers should get into games publishing. They'll play the odds but they'll also take risks to maximize profits.06/30/2015 - 11:57pm
Andrew EisenAt the end of the day, the ball is rolling and it's rolling in the right direction. Maybe not as fast as we'd like, but it is moving. All we can do is play the games that interest us and make our thoughts known.06/30/2015 - 11:55pm
Matthew Wilsonits unfortunate that the dataset is so tiny for female leads, and is a mixed bag, so money people get the wrong idea.06/30/2015 - 11:54pm
Andrew Eisen"Duke Nukem Forever sold poorly. See? Games staring white guys don't sell!" Pretty silly thing to say.06/30/2015 - 11:50pm
Andrew EisenOr, at the very least, that gamers aren't turned off by female leads.06/30/2015 - 11:49pm
Matthew Wilsonyou would think games like metriod, portal and tomb raider would show that it work, but hopefuly those knew ones will.06/30/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenBut, luckily strides are being made and the money peoples are slowly learning that diversity -> larger targeted audience -> more potential dollars.06/30/2015 - 11:43pm
Andrew EisenSure does. That's why there should be more than just one or two attempts. (7 games at E3 with female leads and 35 with a gender option. I think it's safe to say that not all of these will fail!)06/30/2015 - 11:42pm
Matthew Wilsonthat puts alot of presure on the early stuff to do well. lets hope games like recode and harizon are good, and sell well.06/30/2015 - 11:38pm
Andrew EisenLuckily, money people also like to follow trends. So, it's a "simple" matter of making proper representation a trend. And wouldn't you know it, we're seeing the beginnings of exactly that!06/30/2015 - 11:34pm
Andrew EisenBut yeah, money people are risk averse. That's why we see so many sequels, reboots, and adaptations. To a lot of money people, "there's no evidence this works because it's rarely ever been tried" is the same as "this doesn't work."06/30/2015 - 11:33pm
Andrew EisenThat's why I think it's worth convincing the money peoples that proper representation (in any of its forms) isn't a financial risk, it's the path to expanding your audience and making even MORE money!06/30/2015 - 11:32pm
Matthew Wilson@AE will I agree, I kinda understand why. when your risking 50 to 100 mil you are going to try to do the safest thing you can sadly.06/30/2015 - 11:27pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0a6H_7_A5o a fairly impressive fake nx showing by hyberes5606/30/2015 - 11:23pm
Andrew EisenYou see that kind of nonsense in the movie business too.06/30/2015 - 11:02pm
Andrew EisenI think the bigger problem are those who see such things as substantive evidence that games with female leads don't sell well.06/30/2015 - 11:01pm
Matthew Wilsonit doesnt help that games like beyond good and evil did not do well.06/30/2015 - 10:58pm
MechaCrashThey don't advertise games with women leads because they don't sell because they don't advertise them because they don't sell because (repeat ad nauseum).06/30/2015 - 10:52pm
Andrew EisenAnd, with representation getting better and better, I think that's exactly what we'll see over the years.06/30/2015 - 10:49pm
Andrew EisenOf course, there's always the opposite viewpoint: perhaps more women would be inclined to join in the so-called AAA space if representation was better.06/30/2015 - 10:48pm
 

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