Developers dissatisfied by EU tax breaks

Developers dissatisfied by EU tax breaks
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

July 16th 2013 at 1:00PM

Survey reveals that developers still believe Canada is pulling talent away from European nations

Game developers in Europe are dissatisfied with their countries' domestic tax breaks, according to results from a survey by the Game Developers Conference.

Only ten per cent of survey respondents reported being satisfied with their country’s domestic game development tax incentives, compared to 35 per cent feeling unhappy and 55 per cent feeling neutral on the subject.

Of the European-wide respondents, 32 per cent thought that the UK offered the best tax incentives, despite the fact that its ongoing tax breaks saga has seen yet another delayed for European Union approvals. This compared to 19 per cent for France, 12 per cent for Germany, 12 per cent for Finland and nine per cent for the Netherlands.

Lots of respondents cited Canada’s significant tax breaks as a comparison point.

“Not competitive with Canada," one respondent said. "We need more, otherwise Montreal wins," said another. Yet another developer spoke to broader governmental problems: "Most governments don't understand the industry at all," the developer wrote, "In France, game development is an administrative and tax nightmare."

However, in Develop’s own look at what the UK can learn from Canada’s tax break system earlier this year, some Canadian employees cited doubts about the countries fortunes as talents moves around, and in some cases out of the country.

Other respondents to the survey pointed out that tax breaks weren't necessarily a cure-all for European developers' woes: “If we need them, our industry has already screwed up."

"Tax is less a problem; politics itself is the main showstopper."

Another respondent commented on how developers in Nordic countries with fewer tax breaks were still succeeding: "Without many tax breaks, the Nordic countries are thriving, while developers in France or the UK spend too much time looking for actual tax breaks."

GDC conducted the survey to picture of the European sector of game development before GDC Europe takes place. The Game Developers Conference surveyed more than 300 European games industry professionals who have attended GDC shows, read Gamasutra.com or plan to attend GDC Europe 2013 in August.

For this year’s survey, 31 per cent of survey respondents were from Germany, 21 per cent from the UK, 11 per cent from the Netherlands, six per cent from Finland, and six per cent from France.

For more information on GDC Europe including a schedule of all conference events and parties, plus a complete exhibitor list, visit: www.gdceurope.com.