Eidos founder slams Digital Britain report

Eidos founder and British game developers slam recent interim report on Digital Britain
Eidos founder and British game developers slam recent interim report on Digital Britain

Lord Carter's interim report on Digital Britain, published late last month, has come under heavy fire from critics that have slammed its jargonistic, woolly nature and lack of concrete proposals for properly preparing the UK for 'a digital future'.

One aspect of the report that was notable by its absence was any mention of plans for the UK's thriving videogame development and publishing industries – particularly in light of 'brain drain' fears and concerns over the lack of tax breaks and other financial incentives for developers to keep their studios (and their jobs) in the UK.

Edge notes that Lord Carter's Digital Britain report "provides a slender outlook on the industry in general, and makes no solid proposals for how it is going to aid the businesses within it."

Gamings contribution to UK plc

Eidos founder Ian Livingstone puts it bluntly, stating that the Government has "ignored us once again, yet we contribute more to UK plc than the film industry does.

"Whether it's a negative perception of games or not understanding the skills and costs to make a game, we don't seem to register on the radar of the Government.

"If ever there was a moment to be backing games, it's now," he added.

Developer brain drain

Britain's games developer trade body TIGA is equally as unhappy with the lack of any game industry mentions in the report.

"It is very disappointing when the secretary of state doesn't include the UK's very talented and imaginative games industry," TIGA boss Richard Wilson told Edge.

Analyst group Games Investor Consulting claims that UK-made games were valued at £2 billion in 2008, though "warned back in December that the UK was in danger of falling to fifth in the sector's global revenue rankings, as Canada and South Korea – both nations which offer superior development tax breaks – are set to leapfrog the UK in the rankings."

Frontier founder David 'Elite' Braben also recently noted that, "places like Canada remain very attractive, and it is doubtless also no coincidence that Eidos is growing rapidly over there, at the same time as closing their Manchester office."

For some sobering reading on the 'disconnect' between technology and politics in the UK, head over to the the Digital Britain interim report.

Adam Hartley