The Guardian joins the call for better Government support of games

The Guardian joins the call for better Government support of games
Michael French

By Michael French

June 16th 2008 at 8:50AM

British newspaper's Monday editorial warns of 'Grand Theft Industry' if authorities don't act

UK newspaper The Guardian has added its voice to the call for the Government to better support the games industry.

In an editorial published today, the piece uses Britsoft success GTAIV and its global sales, plus Codemasters - the founders of the latter, Richard and David Darling, received an OBE at the weekend - as proof that the UK games industry is "among the strongest in the world, despite most of it having being taken over by foreign firms".

Referring to the Games Up campaign, the piece adds: "The UK games sector is facing an exodus of talent to other countries offering tax incentives, particularly Canada. If companies relocating to Quebec can claim tax credits of up to 30% of payroll costs, small wonder they are migrating in swarms.

"The industry is lobbying the government to invest in a UK success story to prevent the exodus and secure it for the future. But subsidising industry is too "old Labour" for this government. Instead it is planning to complain to the World Trade Organisation, a procedure that could take years. By then, if no action is taken, it could look more like a case of Grand Theft Industry."

The full piece can be read below, or here:

In praise of ... Britain's video games

Britain's video games industry received a tribute with the award of CBEs to David and Richard Darling in the Queen's birthday honours list. The two brothers built Codemasters - responsible for such hits as Colin McRae Rally and Sensible Soccer - into a global force. Although they sold out last year, their company is one of the reasons Britain's video games industry is among the strongest in the world, despite most of it having being taken over by foreign firms. News of the honours coincided with Grand Theft Auto, also developed in the UK, retaining its No 1 slot in the US charts for the second month running. This helped the US games market, including consoles, to a 37% sales increase over a year ago, a potent symbol of resilience. The Darling brothers will be grateful for their CBEs, but would have been even more delighted if recognition had taken a tangible form. The UK games sector is facing an exodus of talent to other countries offering tax incentives, particularly Canada. If companies relocating to Quebec can claim tax credits of up to 30% of payroll costs, small wonder they are migrating in swarms. The industry is lobbying the government to invest in a UK success story to prevent the exodus and secure it for the future. But subsidising industry is too "old Labour" for this government. Instead it is planning to complain to the World Trade Organisation, a procedure that could take years. By then, if no action is taken, it could look more like a case of Grand Theft Industry.