UK games companies, like Revolution Software, can now apply for tax breaks under the long-delayed Games Production Tax Credit scheme.
The European Commission has greenlit the Games Production Tax Credit scheme, a programme of tax breaks for the UK games industry that will allow for a claimed £188 million in addition investments through to 2019.
The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) has welcomed the news with the launching of roadshows designed to show how the programme can benefit UK games developers and publishers. The credit scheme isn’t open to all, however: those wishing to take advantage of it will need to submit their projects to the British Film Institute (BFI) for a ‘cultural test,’ in which it will be decided if the game represents the culture of the UK – meaning games like Grand Theft Auto, developed in the UK but set in the US, would not qualify.
‘This is very welcome news for the UK games industry that will secure economic and cultural sustainability for the industry as a whole,‘ claimed Noirin Carmody, chief operating officer of Revolution Software and UKIE board member of the news. ‘The tax breaks will maintain creativity and innovation in established games businesses like Revolution resulting to increased growth and encourage new start-ups.
‘Revolution have been writing games in York for over 24 years and during this time we have experienced how difficult it can be to balance creating original content with the commercial realities of a crowded global marketplace and attracting the best talent. The new tax breaks will give us and other games business of all sizes, throughout the UK, an amazing opportunity to attract skilled talent that we need to make new and exciting British content that can sell to an expanding global audience.’
The tax breaks aren’t being considered a panacea for the games industry, however. ‘Small companies, like those formed by increasing number of Abertay University graduates, face many other problems to getting a company off the ground including getting the right business advice, gathering enough cash to found a business, and then seeking out the business opportunities for contract work, investment and publishing deals,‘ explained Professor Louis Natanson of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abartay University. ‘What Scotland and the UK need for future economic success is a sustainable games industry ecosystem, which includes tax breaks, industry-relevant education for students, links with active investors and publishers, business and marketing support, and innovation in terms of how games projects raise investment.
‘Today is a very positive day for the UK’s games industry, but continued hard work from educators, game developers, industry supporters and government is needed for this high-growth, high-potential industry to reach its full potential.’
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