RTW: Tax snub will push UK studios abroad

RTW: Tax snub will push UK studios abroad

By Tim Ingham

December 9th 2009 at 5:48PM

Todayâ??s Pre-Budget Report has made Canada a more attractive place for studio expansion than Britain, admits Realtime Worlds

British studios will look abroad when expanding their business in future – after seeing hopes for a tax credit dashed by today's Pre-Budget Report.

That’s according to Realtime Worlds – one of Scotland’s foremost developers and the creator of hugely anticipated MMO APB.

Chancellor Alistair Darling today failed to offer any mention of a games tax credit in his Pre-Budget Speech, whilst the accompanying Report said the Government had “not been persuaded” by development industry lobbyists calling for financial help.

Studio manager at Dundee’s Realtime Worlds Colin MacDonald told Develop today:

“It’s a massive disappointment. Although I don’t think today will make us or other studios think, ‘Sod it, we’re emigrating,’ I do think it has done some damage.

“No-one can dispute that the industry is growing. There are a lot of jobs still to be created, as well as IP and value – and today’s decision means the majority of that isn’t going to happen in the UK.

“We’ve created 300 jobs since setting up in 2002. If we were to create another 300, we’d have to look overseas – and I doubt that discussion would fall favourably on the UK. I think that goes for across UK development now.

“When you look at Canada, without the tax break here, it’s a tough argument for the UK to win.

"Every studio in Britain would like to expand in the UK because we’ve got such great talent, networking and support – but when it comes down to Canada being 40 per cent cheaper than elsewhere, you’ve got to look after the bottom line.

“There’s not going to be a developer in the UK that isn’t now going to look very seriously at Canada. It’s such a shame, because if a tax incentive had been included today, it would have made the choice [between expanding in the UK or abroad] a no-brainer.”

MacDonald has previously said that Realtime would give "serious consideration" to moving some of its business to Ireland if tax incentives were made available.