TIGA: 44% of todayâ??s games pass cultural tax test

TIGA: 44% of todayâ??s games pass cultural tax test

By Rob Crossley

April 30th 2010 at 9:39AM

CEO Wilson says itâ??s easy for games to qualify as culturally British

Nearly half of UK games released today already qualify for tax breaks under the conditions of a ‘cultural test’, an industry body has said.

A study by developer association TIGA revealed that 44 per cent of UK games available today should already satisfy criteria for tax break aid.

TIGA CEO Richard Wilson revealed the data to Develop in a bid to curb confusion surrounding the Government’s proposed ‘culture test’ that will be used to assess eligibility for tax break support.

In March Alistair Darling set aside £90 million to support UK studios with game tax breaks. But the money will only go to ‘culturally British video games’ – with much hinging on how ‘culturally British’ is defined.

Developers have voiced concern whether such a qualifying factor would restrict creative options, but TIGA CEO Richard Wilson insists that British studios “won’t have to base a game on a double-decker busses” to become ‘culturally British’.

“It’s going to be quite easy to qualify for [tax breaks],” said Wilson in an interview with Develop.

“There’s a wide criteria for the cultural test, and it’s a points system, which a lot of games would pass for,” he added.

“When we and the Treasury undertook a test for this, we randomly picked out a number of games and found that 44 per cent qualified for tax breaks under this cultural test. What’s encouraging about that, of course, is that none of those games were built specifically to qualify for tax relief.”