Jobs on the line as Babel shifts to Canada

Jobs on the line as Babel shifts to Canada

By Rob Crossley

August 24th 2011 at 2:45PM

Outsource firm 'needs to follow the demand'; CEO says tax breaks encouraged move

Around thirty jobs hang in the balance at Brighton outfit Babel Media, as the company makes arrangements to shift operations away from the UK and towards Canada.

Babel, a game development outsource group, is reviewing the future of its UK base because, according to management, “there is a brain drain in the UK while Canada is thriving”.

Richard Leinfellner, the CEO Babel Media (pictured), said the UK games industry “cannot compete in the modern business without games tax breaks”.

Babel has placed UK development staff into a consultancy period and is asking its team if they would consider a move to Canada. Senior management are already moving across the Atlantic, Leinfellner said.

What remains for Babel’s Brighton base – which houses up to 80 developers during periods of high demand – is uncertain. Develop understands that a move to a far smaller office is expected, though not being rushed.

Leinfellner said “making sure all affected staff are given support” was a priority. He could not promise that, if all the affected wanted to move to Montreal, there would be enough jobs available.

It is likely that a significant proportion of Babel’s full-time UK staff will be made redundant, but various legalities means Leinfellner could not foretell an outcome.

He did explain, however, why Babel Media is shifting focus to its Montreal studio, which already employs around 300 full-time and part-time developers.

“The market demands have dictated our move,” he told Develop.

“It is a market reality that we have to follow trends,” he said.

“There is a brain drain in the UK while Canada is thriving, and benefiting from tax breaks that can save local studios thirty to forty per cent on production costs. So like THQ, EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix and many more, Babel is taking advantage of these initiatives already” said Leinfellner.

As well as its Brighton and Canada base, Babel also has a growing facility in New Delhi, India, home of its parent company Quatrro.