Developers of video games that are deemed "culturally British" can claim tax relief on some of the production costs in the United Kingdom thanks to a new tax relief scheme that officially went into effect in the region yesterday.
Under the newly implemented plan, game developers and publishers can claim a tax credit of up to 25 percent on qualifying production costs associated with producing games that are certified by the BFI as culturally British.
Candy Crush Saga developer King has joined UK video game industry trade group, Ukie. Ukie claims that its membership is over 200 businesses across the interactive entertainment sector. King, who is best known for creating the Candy Crush Saga game and for suing anyone who uses the words "Candy," or "Saga," became a publicly traded company in the United States this year.
London Mayor Boris Johnson could bring back the London Games Festival according to a research proposal from the Mayor's Office obtained by GamesIndustry International.
Ukie, the trade group representing the games and interactive entertainment industry in the United Kingdom, announced that it has teamed up with Staffordshire University for a one day student and indie developer conference at the university's campus in Staffordshire, UK (College Rd, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2DE, United Kingdom).
The 2014 budget has been passed in the United Kingdom, but once again this year tax relief for the video games industry in the region were not included. UKIE CEO Jo Twist described the ongoing struggle to get tax relief included in the budget "frustrating." The campaign for tax relief similar to what is enjoyed by the film and TV industries has been going on for years, but there were high hopes from the sector and the trade groups representing it in the UK that it would happen this year.
The UKIE, the trade group that represents the video games industry in the United Kingdom, issued a statement today concerning the Office of Fair Trading’s principles for online and app-based games (you can read about that here). UKIE CEO Jo Twist said that her organization has worked closely with its members and the OFT to help form guidelines that protect children and continue to grow business in the UK.
Video game industry trade group UKIE is strongly disputing the Government's claim that the games industry in the United Kingdom is shrinking. The UK games industry shrank by nearly half in 2012 compared to 2011, according to figures released by the department for Culture, Media and Sport. UKIE disputes the findings of the report and warns that many UK games companies are not being counted as part of official industrial and economic figures.
UK video games Industry trade group UKIE called for a merger with Tiga, a trade group representing developers, at its AGM today. UKIE chairman Andy Payne said he was "extending a hand" to Tiga CEO Richard Wilson and the board to explore how the two trade bodies can work together. He said the current split meant the industry only had “half our voice, half our power" with two separate organizations.
"It just feels like we should be one because we are a new industry," said Payne. "It would be easier, for the media and politicians."
UKIE, the trade body that represents the video game industry in the UK, says that it feels "pretty confident" that the tax break proposal will be approved by the European Union and that the doubts raised by the EU Commission over taxpayers contributing to the proposed relief will evaporate. Last year, the UK government approved tax breaks for the country's games sector, promising to provide 25 percent tax relief on 80 percent of the budget for qualifying UK-made games.
During the United Kingdom's March 2012 Budget it looked like plans for tax breaks for video games developers were a lock, but a European Commission (EC) investigation that was announced today has put their future in doubt. The European Commission announced today that it plans to investigate the proposals, and questions whether there is an obvious market failure in the UK games industry.
Specifically the EC is seeking answers to four key questions related to the UK games tax relief plan:
Responding to news that the UK regulatory agency the Office of Fair Trading is investigating free-to-play game practices, the UK video games trade body UKIE issued a statement saying that it would assist the OFT in find the truth.
The OFT announced that it would investigate how companies offer in-app purchases in games and if they use strong marketing techniques against children.
Tax relief for the video games industry in the United Kingdom has been delayed because the European Commission was not able to approve the Cultural Test provisions of the plan, according to this GamesIndustry International report. The Cultural Test requires those applying for tax credits to promote the culture of the UK in various ways.
UK games industry trade groups UKIE and TIGA expressed their disappointment in the news, but were optimistic that the government would continue to be committed to tax breaks for games developers.
Ukie, the interactive entertainment trade group in the UK, has issued a statement today praising a move to have computer science accepted as part of the English Baccalaureate in the United Kingdom's educational system. The group called the move a "major win in addressing the skills issues faced by the games industry."
According to new research from UK video game industry trade group UKIE, 24 percent of parents are unlikely to check the ratings of the video games they buy for their children during the holiday shopping season. UKIE says that only two out of five parents said that they buy games with a suitable age rating, while 43 percent said they checked ratings but didn't necessarily followed the PEGI guidelines.
UK video game industry trade groups UKIE and TIGA have submitted recommendations for the cultural test that will help the government decide which companies are eligible for tax relief. UKIE and TIGA shared its proposed recommendations with each other so that they could approach the UK government with a "consistent voice" on the topic. In order for a game to qualify for UK tax breaks, it will have to meet the requirements of a points-based test that focuses on "cultural content and contribution." Projects will need more than half marks (at least 16 out of 30) to qualify.
In episode 14 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the UK researcher who thinks parents should be arrested for buying their children age inappropriate games, Ubisoft's rootkit controversy, the results from last week's poll at GamePolitics about Humble Bundles, EA's lawsuit against Zynga, the death of the Cybersecurity Act in the Senate, and a whole lot more.
The Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) ratings system is officially in effect in the United Kingdom today, with the reins of the video game ratings bureaucracy leaving the auspices of the BBFC. The change means that retailers in the region that sell video games rated for 12-, 16- or 18-year-olds to children below those age limits would be subject to prosecution and other legal actions. Packaging for games in the UK will now contain age ratings, and descriptors for language, drug use, discrimination, gambling, sex, violence, online gameplay, and more.
Speaking with MCV, UK games industry trade group UKIE detailed its new strategy to focus more on helping game developers.
The pan-European games ratings system (PEGI) could be legally enforceable in the United Kingdom as soon as July 23, according to UKIE. Though the date is not set in stone, the UKIE is getting the word out that the new rating system approved by Parliament last month will soon be the law of the land. And when we say law, we mean there are certain rules that will apply to retailers that can get them a hefty fine or prosecution if they are caught selling age-inappropriate games to minors.
A subsequent update from UKIE CEO Jo Twist back pedaled slightly on the July 23 date:
The UK government has decided to take the rigid requirements out of information and communication technology (ICT) curriculum, instead allowing teachers to create their own lesson plans and approaches to providing students the things they need to learn. Teachers will still be required to teach ICT. The Department for Education’s consultation document announcing the change indicated that the mandatory guidelines were not getting the job done and that educators didn't care all that much for it.
UK video game industry trade group UKIE will sponsor the Games Britannia Festival, it announced today. Games Britannia is a week-long festival that brings British video game talent into the classroom, giving students a unique insight into the skills, techniques and qualifications required to have a successful career in the gaming industry. Over 1000 children, between the ages of 5 - 18 have already signed up to attend, according to UKIE. The event is scheduled to take place July 2 - 6.
The long-delayed implementation of the PEGI age rating system will be ready for prime time by July of this year in the UK, according to MCV. This news comes from UK video game industry trade group UKIE.
UK video game retailer GAME has brought both GAME and Gamestation's UK websites back online after being shut down earlier this month right before it went into administration. Yesterday it was rumored that a consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland was working on a deal to get GAME out of administration by the month's end. Both Game.co.uk and Gamestation.co.uk are both back up, with both sites offering a handful of deals on various new and used games. Both sites currently offer only limited functionality.
Today the British government announced that tax breaks for the video game industry are part of the 2013 budget (thanks beemoh). Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to introduce corporate tax relief beginning in April 2013 for various sectors including video games, animation and high-end television industries. Osborne hopes that these tax breaks will "make the UK the technology centre of Europe."
It's crowd-source funding fever! UK game industry trade group UKIE announced this week that it will be publishing a new crowd funding report that urges the government to pass new legislation that will allow game companies to take advantage of this financing model to fund their businesses or projects. The announcement was no doubt inspired by the success of Double Fine's Kickstarter campaign - which has raised over $1.3 million dollars so far.
UKIE is planning on launching a digital chart next month, but many wonder how on earth the UK games industry trade group will be able to get an accurate measurement of digital sales because it is missing two major players in the space. The problem is that UKIE's digital charts won't include EA's Origin or - more importantly - Valve's Steam.
"I would love every company to be involved in the project. Are we going to get every company? Probably not," UKIE's Sam Collins told GamesIndustry.biz.
UK video game industry trade group UKIE has sold its stake in chart tracking firm GfK Chart-Track, according to a report in MCV. The trade group has reserved - but still has a deal for exclusive access to its data. UKIE held a 20 percent stake, which it sold to GfK, which has had a majority ownership of Chart-Track since 2008.
There has been plenty of talk on how bad bills like SOPA and PIPA are, but no discussion about what can be done about piracy. Piracy is a real problem - but the breadth and depth of that problem has never been accurately documented by the entertainment industry, which use estimates based on lost sales as the basis for their claims.
Charity event Play for Good has launched, with the proceeds of this initiative going to SpecialEffect, a charity dedicated to helping young people with disabilities enjoy computer games in the UK. For many disabled children, the majority of computer games are simply too difficult to play, but with the help of this charity families can learn which games are accessible, and how to adapt those games that aren't more accessible.