APOM boss: 'EC must act on tax breaks'

APOM boss: 'EC must act on tax breaks'
Michael French

By Michael French

April 13th 2007 at 10:00AM

France's games development trade body APOM says the European Union must support studios and ensure local companies survive in a climate threatened by financial subsidies in other continents.

Speaking to Develop Guillaume de Fondaumière (pictured), the president of France' games development trade body APOM, and also COO of Quantic Dream, spoke out in support of SCi boss Jane Cavanagh's comments to the Financial Times yesterday (reprinted here) saying the UK government should consider tax breaks for games companies.

SCi's games brand Eidos is setting up a studio in Montreal, where generous Quebec government grants mean up to 40 per cent of salaries are paid for by the State.

"The French video game developers, whom I represent as the President of the APOM warmly welcome Jane Cavanagh's urge to the UK government," he said.

French developers, he added, have been hard-hit most by Quebec's tax breaks given that the shared language has attracted tempted its talent to Canada. But this means that until now they have been alone in advocating that Europe device similar tax incentives. The French government recently approved a bill proposing tax credits for French games developers, but the move is pending a formal investigation by the European Commission.

Added de Fondaumière : "Europe, in particular the UK, Germany, Austria, the Nordic countries, Benelux, Spain and France used to be vibrant places for video game creation. Since video games have become a massmarket entertainment form however, other countries have understood the importance of it for their economy and their cultural heritage and have put in place a true arsenal of measures and incentives to attract the best talents in the world."

This has meant France has been witnessing "a huge brain drain" losing "creative and
high-tech talents to places like Canada, China or Korea".

But now de Fondaumière says that with the boss of a publisher from the UK, the biggest region in Europe for games development, speaking out against this problem as well, it's clear France is not alone in the creative suffering: "This wave is hitting the creative community in all European countries.

"The European Commission has no more alternative but to finally react and give all European countries equal chances to compete with these new challengers."