Tax breaks announced for UK games developers

Tax breaks for British games developers will hopefull see more AAA games such as GTA IV developed in the UK
Tax breaks for British games developers will hopefull see more AAA games such as GTA IV developed in the UK

One aspect of this week's Digital Britain report from the UK government that many games developers are quietly hopeful about is the pledge to support Britain's flourishing development sector with tax breaks.

The broadcasting and broadband implications of Lord Carter's review have been picked apart, analysed, critiqued and pilloried/celebrated by the tech Twittering classes over the last 24 hours, with the ramifications for the games development industry largely being overlooked.

"Two years ago, the UK was the third largest creator of gaming output in the world. Now it sits in 4th place, behind Canada and marginally ahead of South Korea," notes a report in the Guardian. "The concern is that without tax breaks, British game talent, considered some of the most creative, best-trained and highly skilled in the world, will continue to be tempted by the packages offered at foreign development studios."

Cautious optimism

Following the publication of Digital Britain, TechRadar spoke with Richard Wilson, the Chief Exec of the UK's games developers trade association TIGA, who is cautiously optimistic about the mention of tax breaks for devs in the report.

Noting the mention of tax breaks for games developers, Wilson is happy that the "government is using our own [TIGA's] figures – which reinforces the point that it is important for TIGA to provide this type of research."

"The very fact that the government has made a commitment – in an official white paper – shows that it is seriously entertaining the French system of tax credits for game production," Wilson adds.

Traditional qualifications

The TIGA boss is also pleased to see that the government is "recognising that the games industry is recruiting people from mathematical and science-based degrees…. As a lot of the debate to date has focused on videogame-specific courses."

The message is clearly that more support for the games industry requires candidates with traditional strengths and qualifications in maths, ICT and the sciences.

As for the changes in the age-ratings and classification system for games, Wilson notes that, "from a development point of view, the vast majority of TIFA members are happy with PEGI as the single classification system for games."

Adam Hartley