Games tax relief can save UK from 'alarming' brain drain

Games tax relief can save UK from 'alarming' brain drain
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

July 3rd 2013 at 3:25PM

Scheme can encourage development of innovative and culturally British titles, says Guillaume de Fondaumiere

UK games tax breaks can save UK industry from an alarming brain drain, says European Games Developer Federation president and Quantic Dream co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumiere.

Lending his and the EGDF's support to a growing number of calls for UK tax relief approval, the industry veteran said the scheme could save this “stronghold” of development on a European scale.

He added that Europe as a whole also needed the impetus the initiative would bring to the UK, and that it needed to happen this year.

A statement from the EGDF stated that similar tax measures in France, introduced in 2008, did not distort the EU market or have any impact on other national EU markets, and expected the same from UK proposals.

UK games tax relief is currently under investigation by the European Commission, after it suggested there was not an identifiable market failure to require such a scheme.

"The United Kingdom has historically been Europe’s stronghold when it comes to video games development. For several years now, however, we have witnessed an alarming brain drain and entire studios closing down as global investment has been diverted to other countries, especially in North America, which offer tax incentives,” said de Fondaumiere.

“This in turn has reduced the UK’s capacity to develop culturally British video games. The UK’s Games Tax Relief scheme is really about saving this stronghold on a European scale by encouraging developers and publishers to produce innovative and culturally British titles.

“We strongly support the measure and hope it will be retroactive from April 1st 2013 onwards. Europe needs this impetus, and we need it this year.”

A number of member organisations within the EGDF have expressed support for UK tax breaks, including the Finnish games producers’ association, the Spanish games producers’ association, and the German and French associations.

The calls come on the back of responses from UK trade bodies UKIE and Tiga, which have both called for urgency in EC approval.