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.

5 comments

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...

18 comments

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...

22 comments

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.

14 comments

Game Biz Guru: Bioshock 2 Next to be Banned in UK?

July 31, 2008 -

Video game industry consultant Vincent Scheurer (left), speaking the Develop conference in Brighton, warned that future game bans were possible in the UK.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, Scheurer said:

The costs of the Manhunt 2 ban to RockStar were massive - an independent developer would be out of business... Call of Duty and BioShock could be banned under that criteria [that applied to Manhunt 2]… The next game to be banned could be BioShock 2, and then where would we be?

 

...It makes the business of making games that much harder.

Scheurer also spanked ELSPA boss Paul Jackson for praising the Manhunt 2 ban:

While we fail to fight back we will continue to be blamed for all of societies ills… In my view [European game developers group] Tiga was the only association to step up… Tiga realised, where the other's didn't, that this was about more than Manhunt 2.

Gamezine has more on Scheurer's remarks...

And GameSpot UK has even more...

 
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