TIGA Nabs Top Trade Association Honor

July 2, 2010 -

Videogame industry group TIGA was the recipient of a pair of awards at the UK’s annual Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards.

TIGA grabbed the prestigious Trade Association of the Year 2010 in addition to the Member Recruitment Award. The group was also a finalist in three additional categories—Sector Representation Award, Website of the Year Award and Annual Report of the Year.

TIGA head Richard Wilson stated, “We are absolutely delighted by these awards and commendation. It is a huge honour to be awarded Trade Association of the Year and something we have worked very hard to achieve.”

Wilson also thanked the TIGA team, specifically Lorna Evans, Nisha Valand, Eva Field, Vanessa Joyce and Suzi Stephenson, for “all their hard work and dedication.”

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ATVI Joins TIGA in Lobbying Parliament

June 11, 2010 -

While hopes for UK tax breaks for game developers may be fading, industry groups and developers aren’t giving up without a fight.

Trade association TIGA, along with representatives from Activision, recently met with MP’s Don Foster, Jim McGovern and Stewart Hosie to continue their full court press for tax relief. It’s been speculated that tax relief for makers of interactive entertainment may have to take a back seat to more important measures needed to prop up Britain’s floundering economy.

TIGA Chief Richard Wilson stated:

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Waterfront Entertainment Joins TIGA

June 8, 2010 -

Waterfront Entertainment, a company that specializes in developing games for interactive TV platforms in the UK, has joined TIGA, the trade association representing the game industry in the United Kingdom. Founded in 2004 as a publishing arm of Dundee based developer Denki, Waterfront creates interactive games for TV networks.

To date the company has developed Ben 10: Operation D’Void (Sky), Sam’s Remote (iPhone) and Bookworm (DirecTV). The company also develops iPhone and Flash games. So why join TIGA? Here's the official company line:

"Our sister company Denki has long been an active supporter of TIGA and we enthusiastically believe in the benefit of being part of a strong UK trade body that can advocate on behalf of its members. We are also interested in TIGA’s work to promote the UK games industry to other creative sectors through the Creative Industry Switch program and we hope this will result in more connections and growth for our industry."

Waterfront joins Iguana Entertainment, who joined the trade group on June 3.

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Scottish MSP Urges New UK Gov to Consider Games Tax Relief

May 20, 2010 -

Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Joe FitzPatrick (pictured) is continuing to lobby the UK government for Games Tax Relief.

FitzPatrick, who represents Dundee West, and has been vocal in his support of the games business in the past, sent letters to three new members of the Liberal Democrat & Conservative Cabinet—George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport—asking them to work in conjunction with games industry group TIGA to enable tax breaks for UK developers.

The MSP noted that “any tax relief granted would be extremely small in comparison to the return on the investment, and would be a big step in the recovery of our economy.”

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TIGA Eyes Florida Tax Breaks with Envy, Fear

May 7, 2010 -

UK game industry group TIGA believes that a soon-to-be-enacted tax break in Florida for game developers raises the impetus for a similar measure in the United Kingdom.

The group stated that the Florida legislation “confirmed the imperative” for competing legislation across the pond, with TIGA chief Richard Wilson stating, “The UK games industry wants to compete on a level playing field with games businesses elsewhere in the world.”

Wilson added, “Until we have TIGA’s Games Tax Relief implemented in the UK our video games industry will be at a serious competitive disadvantage.”

Florida’s plan would boost tax incentives to 20.0 percent of a qualifying production’s total budget.


EGTV Examines State of UK Gaming

May 5, 2010 -

The latest episode of Eurogamer’s EGTV show is entitled The Videogames Election and scrutinizes just how important—and necessary, perhaps—government support is to the UK games industry.

The piece features interviews with pro-game MP Tom Watson, ELSPA’s Michael Rawlinson, Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios, EA Sports President Peter Moore and TIGA’s Richard Wilson, among others.

Rawlinson took time in the piece to note a toning down in the anti-game rhetoric from MP Keith Vaz, who reacted some years ago to the UK’s Manhunt tragedy with a call to ban all violent videogames. When responding to the violent scene from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Vaz wanted to ensure that the game could not fall into the hands of children, to which Rawlinson replied, “That’s our message.”

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TIGA Offers Manifesto for Next Parliament

April 7, 2010 -

In the wake of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown receiving the go-ahead from the Queen to dissolve Parliament and hold general elections on May 6, game industry group TIGA has issued its own agenda for the next Parliament.

The “Election Manifesto” (PDF) promotes three “pressing” issues to deal with: the introduction of Games Tax Relief as soon as possible, retention and expansion of the SME R&D tax credit scheme (from 175.0 percent of qualifying expenditures to 200.0 percent) and a decrease in tuition fees for students studying subjects that correlate those needed by  game developers.

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Summarizing U.K.'s Tax Breaks

March 25, 2010 -

The surprise announcement that tax breaks are forthcoming for UK game developers has prompted a flurry of stories and reactions.

Gamesindustry.biz has a good summary of the reactions, which have ranged from surprise to outright relief. A key point, however:

... it's worth noting that all of this is in the context of a looming General Election, after which the present government may be unseated and a large proportion of what was announced could be discarded. Conservative shadow minister Ed Vaizey seems positive on his party's support for the games industry, but has made no promises should the government in the UK change. Meanwhile current polls suggest a hung Parliament could be the most likely outcome of the voting process, and if that happens then nothing is clear.

It's an interesting wrapup of the situation. Would it be a stretch to say the UK speech was a political ploy to stay elected?

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UK Budget Includes Tax Relief for Game Developers

March 24, 2010 -

A good day for the videogame industry continues as UK developers are one step closer to realizing tax relief, following news that the Labour Party budget includes such a provision.

The tax relief would be very similar to that which the film industry currently operates under, writes Develop. The budget report stated, “The Government announces that, following consultation on design, it will introduce a tax relief for the UK's video games industry, subject to state aid approval from the European Commission.”

Game industry group TIGA, who has been dogged in its lobbying efforts for tax relief, called the news “a decisive decision,” and said that tax relief “would be good for the UK games industry, good for UK consumers and good for the wider UK economy.”

TIGA CEO Richard Wilson stated:

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PM Brown Lauds UK Developers

February 23, 2010 -

In advance of the (now) ongoing London-based Global Investment Conference, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown (pictured) gave a shout out to UK game developers.

In a podcast (MP3 here, thanks Edge), Brown highlighted the UK as a “great place to invest,” and then heaped praise on the UK games industry, saying, “We’re leading the way in creative industries… by far the biggest producer of videogames in Europe.”

Brown promised that the conference would not just about “talking shop,” saying, “there will be new commitments of investment off the back of this conference.”

UK trade organization TIGA backed Brown’s comments, with TIGA CEO Richard Wilson adding, “We warmly welcome Prime Minster Gordon Brown’s comments and urge him to act quickly to introduce a Games Tax Relief as outlined by TIGA, for the UK games development industry in the coming Budget.”

Wilson continued:

TIGA has made repeated representations to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and to HM Treasury, setting out the case for Games Tax Relief. We hope that the support of the Prime Minister will ensure a commitment by the Government to the introduction of Games Tax Relief and so guarantee that the UK video games industry remains world leading.

Brown has also found himself a target of Apple Daily, a Hong Kong publication that has demonstrated a growing propensity for serving up reenacted news stories rendered in 3D computer animations. A new book by Andrew Rawnsley alleges that Brown acted the part of a bully on Downing Street, with contentions that Brown threw a slow-moving secretary out of a chair so he could finish her work himself. It was also alleged that Brown had a penchant for striking the headrest in his Jaguar when angry, which frightened aides.

Apple Daily used just these allegations for its latest immersive news piece.

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House of Lords Backs VG Tax Breaks

January 25, 2010 -

A House of Lords Communications Committee report on The British Film and Television Industries contains a section on videogames in which the committee endorses the idea of tax incentives for UK game development companies.

TIGA’s constant lobbying on behalf of the tax breaks appears to have made a dent, as it was noted by the committee that “videogames industry representatives told us that that they were under challenge from subsidised production overseas, and that this was evident in relative growth rates.”

The Committee stated in their report:

We recognise the claims of the videogames industry for support in the face of foreign government-subsidised competition, and recommend that the Government consider providing tax incentives for videogames production.

TIGA CEO Richard Wilson responded, “It is very encouraging that the cross-party, highly respected House of Lords Communications Committee has recommended that the Government should consider providing tax incentives for videogames production.”

Rebellion Studios CEO and Creative director Jason Kingsley, and also TIGA Chairman, added:

Today’s report by the House of Lords Communications Committee demonstrates that TIGA’s relentless campaign on behalf of the UK games industry is making an impact. Senior politicians from the key political parties now aspire to introduce TIGA’s Games Tax Relief.

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Vaizey: Conservatives in Power Would Delay Game Tax Breaks

January 22, 2010 -

While Keith Vaz being mocked in absentia at this week’s eForum roundtable on the state of the UK games industry was a humorous aspect of the proceedings, there were also some deep insights to emerge from the meeting as well.

Jas Purewal attended the forum and wrote up a couple of the more interesting notes on his website. Among them, a comment from Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) that if the Conservative party comes into power this year, there would most likely be no movement on creating tax incentives for game developers for two to three years. Vaizey reasoned that a focus on correcting the current recession would take top priority and push any talk on incentives to the back burner.

Vaizey also disclosed his hope that TIGA and ELSPA could work together more closely in the future, or even merge.

More coverage from the forum on the topics of tax breaks, digital distribution and education can be found on this page of Purewal’s site.

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Vaz Bails on Debate with Game Biz Foes

January 21, 2010 -

Outspoken anti-game MP Keith Vaz pulled out of a scheduled debate with game industry luminaries and politicians at the last minute, much to the chagrin of everyone involved.

Vaz was scheduled to appear at the Westiminster eForum debate, reports MCVUK, alongside Electronic Arts’ Keith Ramsdale, TIGA CEO Richard Wilson, Eidos’ Ian Livingstone and fellow politicians Tom Watson and Ed Vaizey, but did not show, leaving organizers to explain to the assembled crowd that Vaz could not make it.

Vaz then became a subject of ridicule, with just about everyone in the room taking pot shots at the AWOL MP.

Livingstone attempted to fill in for Vaz, mouthing phrases like “Games are evil, games are terrible, games are turning children into killers,” while Vaizey added that perhaps Vaz should now be known as “Keith Chavez” in deference to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Vaizey added that he thought Vaz’s stance on games was “totally wrong,” noting that a game currently appears on the Parliament website and “no one has been killed yet.”

Ramsdale lamented Vaz's absence, saying, "You want to understand where his head is now after being so negative about the videogame industry."

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TIGA Continues Push for Tax Relief

January 11, 2010 -

As the UK government gets closer to General Elections, game industry group TIGA said it would continue to fight for tax relief for videogame developers up to and after such elections take place.

TIGA’s reaffirmation came in response to a comment from MP Stephen Timms that, “We [the Government] will continue to look at the industry's case for a change to tax treatment.”

Citing M2 Research, TIGA claims that the game industry lost 11,488 jobs globally between late 2008 and 2009. Of these figures, 71.0 percent of the losses were in the U.S., while European losses were 13.0 percent of the total. However, 81.0 percent of the Europe-based jobs lost were in the UK. TIGA compares this to Canada’s 2.0 percent contribution to global game job losses, noting that a videogame-friendly tax environment “undoubtedly helped the Canadian games industry to weather last year’s economic storm.”

TIGA CEO Richard Wilson added:

The forthcoming General Election will give TIGA a great opportunity to raise the industry’s profile amongst parliamentary candidates of all major political parties. Results are achieved by perseverance. TIGA will therefore continue to fly the flag of our creative, innovative and successful industry amongst policy makers in order to achieve measures that make a tangible difference to our sector.

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TIGA Petitions PM About Games Help

December 8, 2009 -

The U.K. videogame trade organization TIGA has petitioned the British government to get off its collective bums and do more to support videogame developers in the country.

The petition for tax relief was delivered to the British prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street by TIGA CEO Richard Wilson and several prominent developers in the United Kingdom. They were joined by Bill Olner, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Computer and Video Games Industry, according to a release on TIGA's site. The petition carried the signatures of 54 game industry executives.

In the release, Wilson said:

“If it is right to provide tax relief for the UK film industry then it is also right to provide tax relief for the UK video games sector. The introduction of a Games Tax Relief would increase employment, investment and enable British video game developers to better compete against those countries which have sought to attract this growing sector using tax incentives.

“If the UK intends to capitalise on this modern industry and echo the success of the UK film industry then I urge the Government to introduce a Games Tax Relief as a matter of urgency.”

A pre-budget report is expected to come out on Wednesday, where Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling is expected to determine if tax breaks for the videogame industry will be forthcoming. 

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TIGA Again Urges Tax Relief for Game Developers

December 2, 2009 -

Noting that the UK game industry continues to shrink, even as the worldwide videogame market continues to grow, TIGA has prepared a Pre-Budget Report outlining the steps it would like to see implemented in order to grow the UK game developer population.

TIGA CEO Richard Wilson called Games Tax Relief “absolutely essential,” claiming that unless such a program is implemented, employment in the game sector will fall by 5% in each of the next five years. If tax breaks were introduced, TIGA says the industry could grow 2% in 2011 and 4% in each of the three following years. They estimate that the tax measure would cost “cost £192 million but would deliver £415 million in tax receipts” over five years.

TIGA is also calling for a freezing of corporation tax rates and National Insurance Contributions for the coming year (and a one percent cut in the future for both), extending research and development tax credits, stimulating investment into firms that generate intellectual property and bumping up the value of corporation tax losses.

Wilson added, “The UK Government has a clear choice: invest in an inherently successful industry to perpetuate our leading position in the world, or preside over the decline of a key knowledge industry.”

As part of Games Tax Relief, TIGA suggest three tiers of breaks: 20 per cent of core expenditure for budgets above £6,000,000, 25 per cent for budgets over £3,000,000 but less than £6,000,000 and 30 per cent for budgets of over £100,000 but under £3,000,000.

The game industry group made its report in advance of the government’s December 9 Pre-Budget Report, noting that, “This is the last serious chance to demonstrate a commitment to the sector in the life of this Parliament.”

The full report can be downloaded here (PDF).

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UK Dev Survey: Piracy a Problem, But Not a Threat

November 11, 2009 -

Only 10% of UK videogame developers view piracy as a threat to their business survival reports a new survey from trade industry group TIGA.

While the low percentage indicates that piracy probably won’t drive any developers out of business, game makers are still concerned about having their work stolen, with 90% of those surveyed seeing piracy as a “constant or increasing problem” for their business going forward.

When queried on whether they would do business differently as a result of piracy, 50% responded “yes,” 30% responded “no” and 20% answered “don’t know.” Of the 50% who responded “yes” to the previous question, 75% indicated that digital distribution, subscription based or ad-supported free games would be their remedy against piracy.

The developers were also asked if Digital Rights Management (DRM) was “an irrelevance, a solution or a problem.” 50% responded that DRM is “an irrelevance,” 30% called it “the solution” and 20% labeled it “the problem.”

Developers were split 50/50 on the issue of whether or not people caught pirating should have their Internet connection throttled and/or cut off.

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Scots Attempting to React to Proposed Irish Tax Breaks

October 13, 2009 -

A lack of fiscal autonomy could affect Scotland’s bid to stop Ireland from poaching game development companies.

While Sir Gerry Robinson previously proposed that Ireland try to lure Scottish developers with a five-year tax holiday, Michael Russell, Scottish Minister for Culture, External Affairs and Constitution, lamented to Inc Gamers that Scottish Parliament does not have the ability to alter its own tax structure, making it difficult to entice companies to stay. Russell hopes to secure full fiscal powers from the UK in order to “respond to the needs of our industry."

Despite the competition, Russell said Scottish developers were opting to stay put:

I am pleased that many companies that are based here are choosing to stay here, despite the financial incentives that might be on offer elsewhere.  We are committed to supporting them and creating the infrastructure to enable to them to thrive.

TIGA, the UK trade association for game developers, continues to lobby for tax breaks throughout the region.

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UK Trade Group Calls for Widespread Developer Support

September 22, 2009 -

TIGA, a UK trade association that represents game developers and associated businesses, has called for a national Games Tax Relief to spur growth and aid current interactive developers.

Labeling the current system of assistance as “incoherent and insufficient,” TIGA seeks a single, region-wide policy that would eliminate the current “post code lottery.” TIGA’s comments came following a report on actual funding from nine English Regional Development Agencies (RDA) disclosed a large gap in assistance provided based on region.

TIGA’s CEO, Richard Wilson explained:

... while many other countries provide generous tax relief for games production there is no similar tax benefit for game developers in England. More funding should be made accessible through national programmes that developers, irrespective of their geographical location, can benefit from.


TIGA sees Games Tax Relief assisting 60-80 titles per year and creating more than 1,400 jobs over five years.

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UK Game Devs Group Says Tax Break Would Create 1,400 New Jobs

August 31, 2009 -

Government tax breaks would create 1,400 new jobs for the UK video game industry within five years, says game developers group TIGA.

The organization, which has been fighting hard for government incentives in recent times, made its claim in a report sent to the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport late last week.

The document, titled Investing in the Future, lamented the loss of skilled British developers to nations in which government incentives for video game studios already exist:

Games would need to pass a cultural test, scoring against criteria of European heritage and game locations, languages, innovation, narrative, and location of development and key development staff. 44% of UK made games profiled in an exercise for the report passed...

 

With 60-80 titles benefitting per year, the tax measure would assist UK game developers without distorting the larger European game development market...

 

The Games Tax Relief is expected over 5 years to create 1,400 new jobs in the studio sector, increasing investment by games studios by 146m, direct and indirect annual tax revenues by 133m and GDP contribution by 323m. By year 5, for every 100 of investment by government in the Games Tax Relief, the industry will invest 176.

In a forward to the TIGA report, Lord Puttnam (left), Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Computer and Video Games Industry, gave his strong support to the notion of a tax break:

For far too long the UK video games industry has been effectively taken for granted. To ensure the continuing success of this pre-eminently creative sector, I can only urge the Government to support TIGAs case for the introduction of a form of Games Tax Relief, as set out in this report.

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British Chancellor Discusses Economic Policy with Blitz Games CEO

July 20, 2009 -

Relations between the video game industry and the British government continue on the upswing.

In the latest indication of cooperation between the Gordon Brown government and the game biz, Develop reports that U.K. Chancellor Alistair Darling (left) took a meeting in Westminster last week with Blitz Games CEO Philip Oliver.

Darling is responsible for all British economic policy, while Blitz's credits include Fuzion Frenzy. From Develop:

According to a statement, it was Darling who requested to meet with Oliver to discuss the state of the industry and examine policies going forward.



Oliver had presented a list of arguments, arranged in part by the UK games industry body Tiga. He said it was “hugely encouraging” to see the Chancellor consult the games industry on the issues of skills and education...

The Blitz Games chief executive argued that the government should cut tuition fees for undergraduates taking mathematics and computer science degrees.

..

In April, Darling was criticized by Tiga head Richard Wilson for failing to include game developer incentives in the U.K. budget.

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U.K. Game Biz Wants Government to Stop Brain Drain

May 18, 2009 -

Video game industry types in the U.K. are lamenting the loss of talented developers to competing nations, reports the Guardian.

Complaints about a lack of government subsidies to U.K. game firms has been increasingly heard in recent years. The newspaper notes that video games, which add more than a billion pounds to the nation's GDP, receive no support while film production, which contributes less, is susidized.

Canada and France, both of which support their game industries, are taking business - and talent - away from U.K. firms. Some 30,000 British expatriot game biz workers live in British Columbia alone. EA developer Matthew Boulton is among them:

Games are a lot more high profile here; it's recognised as an important industry. Maybe that's true in the UK as well, but you never get that sense. You never hear politicians mention it – but here, it's one of the things that people know is strong and that you need to support.

Conservative MP Edward Vaizey, a strong supporter of the U.K. game industry, told the Guardian:

The only time [the game biz] gets mentioned in parliament is when Keith Vaz [chairman of the home affairs committee] is blaming it for causing some recent outrage. We were the second largest in the world, but we are slipping.

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European Union Wants a Two-Year Guarantee on Game Software

May 15, 2009 -

Consumers would be guaranteed that their games would work for two years under a proposal being considered by the European Union Commission.

The BBC reports that Commissioners Viviane Reding and Meglena Kuneva want to expand current consumer protection regulations to include licensed software. Such a move would encompass games as well as virtually every other type of software. Of the proposal, an EU spokeswoman said:

The current status quo, where licensed products are exempt from EU law, is unsatisfactory... On the one hand there is the risk of abuse [by consumers], but on the other it's not a good enough reason to say basic consumer protection should not apply.

While anyone who has struggled to get a PC game to run will appreciate the intent of the proposal, the video game industry has not reacted with enthusiasm. Is anyone surprised? Dr. Richard Wilson, who heads game developers' lobbying group Tiga, told the BBC that the new regulations could stifle innovation:

Consumers need good quality products - that is only reasonable - but if the legislation is too heavy-handed it could make publishers and developers very cautious... Games takes years to develop and software teams often have to predict what new technology will be in place when the game is actually finished.

If there is an onus on developers to have software that is 'near perfect' then it could stifle new ideas as people could end up just playing it safe.

Meanwhile, Francisco Mingorance of the Business Software Alliance had the best line of the day (even if he is spinning the issue of behalf of Microsoft, Apple and other big corporations):

Digital content is not a tangible good and should not be subject to the same liability rules as toasters.

GP: We still have fond memories of those flying toasters from the After Dark screen saver.

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British MP: ELSPA and Tiga Should Merge

May 13, 2009 -

ESA, EMA, ESRB, IGDA, ELSPA, Tiga: On both sides of the Atlantic the alphabet soup is bubbling when it comes to video game industry trade groups.

But one member of Parliament thinks that the British video game industry would be better served with a single organization whose name people could remember.

Conservative MP Edward Vaizey (left), who has been a vocal supporter of the game biz, told IncGamers:

[ELSPA and Tiga should] merge and have a name everyone can understand. Two trade bodies for one industry, why?

 

The videogame industry has to up its game and tell people what they're about. There are all these great stories about videogames which never get into the press. [The two trade bodies - ELSPA and Tiga] [s]hould get together and talk to each other, and get the good press stories out there...

Vaizey also criticized the Labour Government's recent Change4Life campaign which suggested that playing video games would lead to an early death. The campaign was later revised.

GP: Vaizey may be a bit off the mark here. ELSPA represents game publishers, while Tiga represents game developers. While there are areas of mutual concern, the interests of the two groups are not always in synch.

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Game Developers Lament Lack of Support in U.K. Budget Plan

April 23, 2009 -

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling (left) has put forth a budget for the U.K. but game developers are not happy about his plans.

Edge Online reports that Richard Wilson, head of developers' group Tiga, blasted Darling's proposal for failing to provide what Wilson views as adequate financial incentives for U.K. game creators:

This Budget conspicuously fails to back one of the principal creative industries of the future – games development. It is disappointing that while [Darling] plans to spend £671 billion over the coming financial year... he could not find the £150 million over five years to invest in the tax break for games production.

The Government has missed a trick. Video games are a growing sector and the UK games development sector is still world beating. The Government should have used today’s Budget to reinforce success and introduced a tax break for games production...

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Labour Govt. Can't Say How Much Money It's Given to Game Biz

April 3, 2009 -

The Labour Government of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has given financial assistance to the video game industry, but it doesn't know how much, according to gamesindustry.biz.

Conservative MP Philip Davies (left) addressed the question to the government's Department of Culture, Media and Sports earlier this week. Parliamentary under-secretary Barbara Follett provided the response:

The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. We do not have the specific figures broken down by sector or year.

Richard Wilson, CEO of U.K. game developers group Tiga, criticized the government's confusion:

The government needs good quality information if it is to implement plans that benefit economic sectors. However, the government's admission today that it supports the videogames sector but doesn't record the amount of financial support means that it cannot effectively measure its impact.

This is a great shame - the government needs to record and assess its financial assessments in order to make better policy in the future.

Game Developers Lobby Scottish Parliament for Tax Breaks

March 19, 2009 -

The Scottish Parliament heard from game developers yesterday as trade group Tiga lobbied for tax breaks.

As reported by the Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tiga head Richard Wilson complained that developers were working on an “uneven playing field” in comparison to their global competitors.

If we want the Scottish games industry in particular, and the UK games industry in general, to stay ahead of the pack, then we must introduce a tax break for games production similar to the EU-approved French tax credit.

Industry research indicates that if a 20% production tax credit was introduced, investment would increase by £220million over five years, generating a further 1,600 graduate jobs over the same period.

MSP Joe Fitzpatrick, who represents Dundee, where much of Scotland's game development community is based, backed Tiga's request:

Abolishing [Value-added Tax] for research and development would give Scottish [video game] firms the same benefits as those in France and keep us at the forefront of the industry.

 

I want to see Chancellor Alistair Darling take action in the upcoming budget.

Not everyone agreed, however. Some MSPs felt that sufficient incentives were already available to the video game industry.

UPDATE: Edge Online has debate highlights, or, for true political junkies, the full text of yesterday's debate.

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UK Game Developers File Complaint Against "Early Death" Ad

March 9, 2009 -

The fallout over controversial ads linking video game playing with early death continues.

In the latest news, Tiga, the trade association which represents U.K. video game developers, has filed a complaint with Britain's Advertising Standards Authority, reports develop.

At issue are print ads placed by the British government's Change4Life campaign which show a young boy holding a game controller. The ad's text reads, "Risk an early death, just do nothing."

Of the ads, Tiga CEO Richard Wilson said:

This advert is absurd and insulting in equal measure. To imply that playing a video game leads to a premature rendezvous with the Grim Reaper is a non-sequitur of colossal proportions. Alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, obesity and involvement in violent crime are forms of behaviour that risk an early death...

This advert is offensive to the 30,000 people who work in the UK’s video games industry, particularly the 10,000 who work in games development. Game developers are typically intelligent, very qualified and creative individuals who work to produce high quality games for people’s entertainment. They are not in the business of driving people to an early grave...

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British Conservative Party Charges Govt. with Failing UK Game Biz

February 11, 2009 -

A Conservative member of the British Parliament has accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government of failing the UK's video game industry.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, Ed Vaizey (left) said:

The Government's strategy for videogames has been shown to be nothing more than a sham. For months, whenever we have pressed the Government for action, they have used the excuse that the issue had been referred to the WTO. Now they no longer have this excuse.

As the games industry itself says, the Government now 'stands naked, bereft of a credible fiscal policy with which to support the sector.

 

The Government must act now to support an industry that is world-beating, job-creating and at the heart of our creative industries. After nine reviews of the creative industries, and eight more in the pipeline, the Government's dithering has now been exposed as causing real damage.

Vaizey's mention of the WTO refers to a trade complaint which the UK filed against Canada in March, 2008. As Gamers Daily News reports, that bid has failed.

Richard Wilson, head of British game developers' trade group Tiga, echoed Vaizey's criticism of the government's handling of the video game sector:

Last year the Government said that the UK via the European Union would take legal action against Canada if its support for its video games industry violated WTO rules. We now know that there are no legal grounds on which to lodge a complaint.

We cannot stop our competitors from benefiting from tax breaks but there is a simple solution: copy them. Just as Australia, Canada, China, France, Singapore, South Korea and some American states help their games industries to grow through extensive tax breaks, so the UK Government should back our games industry with a tax break for games production. If you can’t beat them, join them.

The Government stands naked before the games industry, bereft of a credible fiscal policy with which to support the sector...

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U.K. Game Devs Welcome Tax Break Proposal

November 12, 2008 -

Game developers in the U.K. are lining up behind a Conservative Party proposal that would lower taxes for small and medium-sized companies, according to gamesindustry.biz.

Richard Wilson, CEO of game dev trade group Tiga, called on Britain's ruling Labour Party to follow suit:

Measures to cut the tax burden on business in general and on games developers in particular, are welcome.

 

The Conservatives' proposals to enable [smaller companies] to delay their quarterly VAT payments for up to six months, to reduce employers' national insurance contributions... to cut corporation tax... and to reverse the planned increase in the small companies' rate... are encouraging.

On the other hand, Wilson criticized part of the Conservative plan which promotes apprenticeships:

The Conservative’s focus on boosting apprenticeships is too restrictive. The apprenticeship model is not ideal for every sector of the UK economy. Games developers need more graduates, particularly in computer science, mathematics and physics. Many games developers already employ highly qualified teams.

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Sleakerwonder if anyone is going to try and compete with google, I'm not a huge fan of the way they manage their video services.07/24/2014 - 4:41pm
Andrew EisenIt happened. Google bought Twitch. http://venturebeat.com/2014/07/24/googles-1b-purchase-of-twitch-confirmed-joins-youtube-for-new-video-empire/07/24/2014 - 4:28pm
MaskedPixelanteI hope Nintendo actually follows through with the DS Virtual Console, that sounds like it could be cool.07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
james_fudgePeople don't deny it persay, they bristle at the idea that it's a "problem" that nneds to be "fixed."07/24/2014 - 2:15pm
Papa MidnightRacism and Misogny are heavily prevalent in the gaming and online arena. Getting people to actually admit that, however...07/24/2014 - 11:42am
Papa MidnightThat very thing is somthing that anyone who has been subjected to racial-based targeting online could actually state that they've experienced.07/24/2014 - 11:41am
Papa MidnightPerfect example: "I have yet to talk to a man who has had to call a police officer due to a stalker, only to be told nothing can be done until they are physically assaulted."07/24/2014 - 11:40am
Papa MidnightNot that said communities are mutually exclusive. Even the very first comment on that last article equates women in the gaming industry with being the n-word. Despicable, aetestable, and (sadly enough) this is not an uncommon presence in either community.07/24/2014 - 11:35am
Papa MidnightI only wish someone would lead a similar investigation of the sheer level of irrational racially motivated hate and insults that are perpetuated in the online and gaming community.07/24/2014 - 11:33am
Papa Midnighthttp://www.polygon.com/2014/7/22/5926193/women-gaming-harassment07/24/2014 - 11:31am
SleakerAhh.. I have a feeling it's because they wanted to put up their own games on their own store.07/24/2014 - 10:56am
MaskedPixelanteRemember in 2012 when they decided to include new releases? That's when the whole service fell apart for me.07/24/2014 - 10:47am
Sleaker@MP - sold out? I thought they were always like this.07/24/2014 - 10:46am
E. Zachary KnightHowever, there are still a good number of games that have viable linux versions already and are currently in their games library that are not yet in the Linux store.07/24/2014 - 10:40am
E. Zachary KnightI for one am glad to see them finally support Linux. It has been a long time coming.07/24/2014 - 10:39am
MaskedPixelanteFrankly, I think GOG is on a quality downswing since they sold out.07/24/2014 - 10:22am
SleakerMy respect for them can't get any lower at this point, but at least they cut the bullshit I called them on back when they said it wasn't plausible to release on linux.07/24/2014 - 8:59am
SleakerGoG.com is retconning their previous 'We can't do linux support statements': http://www.gog.com/news/gogcom_now_supports_linux07/24/2014 - 8:58am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.nerdist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/WW_Cv36.jpg The new Wonder Woman design, created specifically to shut people up about Gal Gadot being too skinny to play Wonder Woman.07/24/2014 - 8:12am
InfophileVery nice article, Zen. I definitely agree that many devs won't support something unless everyone has it. So many other examples from the past, even as far back as the SNES and accessories for it like the mouse or superscope.07/24/2014 - 5:40am
 

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