In a speech earlier this morning, the United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced that the UK would be giving tax breaks to the video games industry similar to the ones the British film industry gets.
This news comes a couple of years after Chancellor Osborne, a Conservative, called tax breaks given by the outgoing Labour government “poorly targeted,” scrapping them from the Coalition budget after his appointment to his position in May of 2010.
Since then, the UK has seen an exodus of talent and development: Bizarre Creations and Black Rock Studios both closed down in 2011, and companies started to outsource to Canada, which is known for giving lucrative tax breaks in Ontario and Quebec.
The news was very well received by the UK games industry. Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO of lobbying group TIGA, was euphoric:
“This is a brilliant decision by the Government and terrific news for the UK video games industry. It is also a decisive victory won by TIGA through audacity, determination and endurance. Like a boxer knocked down by his opponent, we refused to accept defeat and kept getting back in the ring. This victory will benefit not just the UK games development and digital publishing sector but also the wider UK economy.”
Reaction has been coming in from all corners of England as well; comments from Crytek, Bossa Studios, Blitz Games Studios and others have come pouring in. Refer to TIGA’s press release below for full quotes.
Gaming Bus interviewed Dr. Wilson back in July regarding the issue of the UK’s tax breaks.
Analysis: There simply could not be better news for the UK’s industry. For two years, it looked like the games industry was going to become collateral damage as they lost a brain drain to other European nations such as France, who had tax breaks. With the EU recently announcing that they would extend the provision allowing tax breaks throughout the union again, the Chancellor’s next move was apparent. To stick to his guns on his prior stance would have been highly counterproductive, and as more studios either shuttered or left for greener pastures, it would’ve effectively ended top-flight games development in the country that gave us the ZX Spectrum and the Dizzy games.
When I wrote about the EU’s tax breaks last week, I ended my piece with a hope that Dr. Wilson could “slap some sense” into the Coalition government. Congratulations to Dr. Wilson, then, for his efforts have helped save thousands of jobs in this industry.