TIGA proposes changes to cultural test for games

TIGA proposes changes to cultural test for games
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

October 29th 2012 at 2:55PM

Trade body seeks to lower the barrier for tax relief entry

UK trade body TIGA wishes to adjust the current requirements of the EU cultural test to ensure smaller, as well as medium and large studios, will benefit from the planned tax break.

EU law requires that Games Tax Relief incorporates a cultural test and studios’ games must pass it in order to be eligible for the tax measure.

“TIGA aims to strengthen the UK games industry and secure an effective Games Tax Relief,” said Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA.

“We propose some adjustments to the cultural test, including the provision of multiple points to individuals fulfilling multiple roles at smaller companies. This is vital if smaller studios are also to benefit from Games Tax Relief. For in start-ups and smaller studios it’s not unusual to find, for example, that the manager, lead programmer and lead designer are the same person.”

TIGA has put forward the following adjustments to the cultural test:
•    Points being awarded for artistic costs if those costs are more than 25 per cent of the budget rather than 50 per cent as originally proposed by the Government
•    Points allocated specifically for coding
•    Points defined for fictional settings and species to allow sci-fi, fantasy and non-narrative titles to secure cultural contribution points in the test
•    Recognition of and points available for UK service providers, including motion capture providers
•    Points for key roles defined for cultural practitioners that are not currently represented in the test such as concept artist, producer and assistant producer
•    Allotting of multiple points to individuals fulfilling multiple roles at smaller companies
•    Increasing the number of points that are available for producing games in the English language including official regional or minority languages of the UK

Presently, the Government is planning for the BFI to administer the cultural test. TIGA, however, believes that if the BFI is to assume this role, then it would need to be properly resourced and should hire experts from the video games sector and consult with TIGA.

A discrete unit focused on video games within the BFI might be the best approach. TIGA would not support the creation of a new quango to administer the cultural test.

Jason Kingsley, TIGA chairman and CEO, and creative director at Rebellion, added: “TIGA has worked closely with the UK Government to construct the cultural test. We believe that many games will be eligible for Games Tax Relief, especially if our suggestions for adjusting the cultural test are adopted. This is cultural test marks further progress towards our goal of establishing Games Tax Relief in the UK.”