After years of lagging behind other key development territories, the UK games industry could be getting some much needed support in the form of tax breaks when the new annual budget is announced on Wednesday.
These tax breaks were originally announced during the budget reveal this time last year, but was then blocked by European Commission who questioned the need for tax breaks in an industry it labelled “an obvious market failure.” Harsh.
UK gaming retail trade publication MCV, claim to have an inside source close to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that told them that meetings are already taking place with top gaming executives.
The tax breaks could bring the UK gaming industry more in line with industry hot spots like France and Canada who have similar breaks in place, resulting in a healthy booming industry. The UK scene regularly sees a ‘brain drain’ of local talent because of the lack of stability in the industry, as many studios have been forced to close or layoff large numbers of staff in recent years.
These tax breaks could also encourage more studios to set up shop in the UK, giving UK graduates more local opportunities. There are already some world famous studios working in the UK, such as Grand Theft Auto’s Rockstar or Batman: Arkham Knight’s Rocksteady, but the UK scene would certainly welcome large publishers like EA, Ubisoft and Activision to open up local studios.
All is not lost if we don’t hear an announcement on Wednesday when Chancellor George Osborne waves his little red suitcase at the cameras, we may see it a few weeks later as Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey has insisted an announcement is ‘imminent’.
Do you think the UK industry will get the tax breaks it needs? And how about that statement from the European Commission? Do you think the industry is an “obvious market failure,” or has the arrival of the next-gen consoles revitalised it?