Bizarre backs tax break campaign

Bizarre backs tax break campaign
Michael French

By Michael French

March 18th 2008 at 11:42AM

UK industry being damaged by subsidies in other regions, says Activision-owned team as it rallies support for petition to PM

Project Gotham Racing creator Bizarre Creations has joined the campaign for a UK games industry production tax credit, rallying people to support a petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

We were the first to reveal last week that an aspiring games developer and gamer had started the petition demanding the Government to seriously look at introducing a tax break akin to those available in Quebec and now legal in the UK after an EU ruling in December.

Now the Liverpool based studio has joined the campaign, saying on its official site: "We fully support the recent actions from TIGA, ELPSA, and others in asking the UK government to offer the same tax credits to British developers, and continue to keep our local industry competitive with those overseas."

Bizarre's parent firm Activision knows all too well the benefit of a tax break - it owns Quebec City-based Beenox, a growing team that takes advantage of the region's tax benefits for games production.

The rest of the statement from the studio reads: "Bizarre Creations are proud to be a British game development studio, and look back on our 10+ years of developing games here with great pride. And the UK has always been, and still is, a real hotbed of talent, producing some of the world's best selling games across many genres and formats. But it's getting harder and harder to be a developer or publisher in the UK, as increasing costs and global competition mean that everyone's under great financial pressure.

"As the years have gone by, many studios have struggled and had to close, and different gaming studios have had to find their own ways to deal with this pressure.

"It was a big part of the reason that Bizarre chose to become part of the Activision family - in order to guarantee security to our employees, and security to our future games in this difficult climate. But even as part of a large publisher, without active Government support of our industry, developing or publishing games in the UK is still stressful with current economic conditions.

"The problem has been compounded recently by some foreign government tax breaks and financial incentives given to studios and/or publishers who set up or operate in their countries. Many publishers have already taken advantage of financial incentives and moved, bought or set up development studios overseas, and UK talent (both experienced, and new graduates) is being tempted away. Of course, the games industry is a truly global marketplace, but undercutting incentives like this are extremely damaging to the UK games industry as a whole."

In under a week, the petition has scored over 1,500 signatures - with the list of supporters including staff from studios, recruitment firms and service companies across the UK as well as consumers and gamers.

Click here, here and here for more information and comment on the call for tax breaks - including comments from Tiga and ELSPA.

(And, as the team at Bizarre recommends, keep tuned to Developmag.com to follow the campaign.)