If the latest Call of Duty taught us anything besides the fact that big explosions are still almost as ridiculous as they are awesome, it’s that videogames can make you a ton of money. The United Kingdom recently followed a trend set by other game development-friendly nations like France, Canada, and Singapore to offer increased tax incentives for software developers. Eidos’s Life President Ian Livingstone describes the new advantage in a recent editorial for BBC News:
Hi-tech, high-growth and knowledge-based, the UK games industry has all the characteristics to succeed globally in the digital economy.
Unfortunately, however, the UK is one of the most expensive countries in the world in which to make video games.
There are naturally cheap labour markets in Asia and India and subsidised markets in the West.
Countries such as France, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore and the US all offer national or local incentives such as tax credits, subsidies or better access to finance.
Quebec for example offers a 37.5% salary rebate to employers for staff making video games.
France offers a 20% tax credit. Until today, there was no help whatsoever for UK development studios who have had to operate on an uneven playing field.
Facing many challenges, many had become work-for-hire outfits without IP [intellectual property] ownership as they were sold, relocated or faced going out of business.
Livingstone hopes that the new incentives will “encourage inward investment, job creation and for the UK games industry to reclaim its position as a world leader in games production.” The economics of the videogame industry are evolving alongside the form itself, so it is hard to see what shape this state intervention will ultimately take. But the eager responses by local governments promises to create a new and vibrant culture of videogame studios that expand the often prohibitive New York/LA divide in a medium like film and television.
[via BBC News]