Action Plan for Scottish Video Games Industry

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, called for the implementation of an action plan to strengthen the Scottish video games sector. TIGA made the call following yesterday’s news that Realtime Worlds in Dundee was going into administration. Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, outlined some of the features of the plan on the BBC Radio programme, ‘Good Morning Scotland’.

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:

“If the Scottish video games industry in particular and the UK games sector in general are to come through the current crisis and attain their potential, then we must take decisive action. We need action in the following five areas:

  • Games Tax Relief should be introduced at the earliest opportunity so that the games industry can compete on a level playing against games businesses in other countries.
  • Research and Development tax credits should be retained and enhanced.
  • Business incubators should be established to help the formation of a new wave of video games firms. Small, start up games businesses should receive business mentoring and advice on how to create and retain IP and how to develop relatively sustainable business models.
  • Games clusters should be consciously supported. Clusters can encourage knowledge transfer and business efficiencies. With a critical mass of games businesses in place, this in turn should encourage inward investment.
  • Higher education must be adequately funded and the study of STEM subjects encouraged in order to ensure that the games industry has access to a well qualified and skilled workforce.

“We still hope that Realtime Worlds will find a buyer. Whether this transpires or not, we need action to ensure that our video games industry comes through the current turmoil in as strong a shape as possible. TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, will play its part through the provision of best practice business advice and support and we will continue to champion our video games sector.”

5 comments ↓

#1 martin brown on 08.18.10 at 3:56 pm

Absolutely, not soon enough for Dundee

#2 dreamingspire on 08.18.10 at 8:57 pm

Tom, if it ain’t viable financially in the market, it ain’t viable financially. Let it be.

#3 Sean Baggaley on 08.19.10 at 9:58 pm

@dreamingspire:

The problem is that the market doesn’t come close to resembling a level playing field. Canada—particularly Quebec—and France both offer *huge* tax incentives, in some cases companies can save as much as 40%!

The UK is the ONLY country which doesn’t provide *any* support for the games industry, even though the UK’s contribution is responsible for *billions* of pounds in revenues alone.

The UK’s game developers punch well above their weight globally. GTA? British. Lara Croft Tomb Raider? British. As a nation, we have a lot of creative industries bringing in a lot of tax revenues. (Just ask Mrs. J. K. Rowling!)

Codemasters alone is responsible for bringing in tons of cash. But they’re also now one of the very few remaining global games publisher-developers left in the country thanks in large part to government apathy. (Many UK publishers are now owned by French publishers Ubisoft and Atari—originally known as “Infogrames”.)

But while TV and movies get tax breaks and even taxpayer-backed funding, the games industry has been treated like the red-headed bastard stepchild.

Under any other circumstances I’d agree with your sentiments, but the simple fact remains that the US, Canada and France are *hurling* tax breaks at developers and publishers to move to their countries.

Either the UK government must commit to loudly and vocally facing down these countries and demanding the WTO fine them or otherwise punish them for bending the anti-subsidy rules so flagrantly, or it must provide similar support itself. Or developers—who need to pay the bills just like everyone else—will leave.

#4 nonny mouse on 08.31.10 at 7:18 am

RTW failed because they had a bad product not because they needed tax credits.

Somehow they managed to blow through $100 million. If anything, they had too much money and lost sight of the fact that videe games need to be fun to sell.

>>Either the UK government must commit to loudly and vocally facing down these countries and demanding the WTO fine them or otherwise punish them for bending the anti-subsidy rules so flagrantly, or it must provide similar support itself. Or developers—who need to pay the bills just like everyone else—will leave.

Canada needs to be taken to the WTO for illegal subsidies rather than the UK waste money trying to match it. Failing that throw an import duty on their games to make up for the help that they get from the Canadian tax payer.

I have worked in the video games industry for 26+ years. I don’t want HMG turning my industry into a subsidy addicted wreck like the UK car industry in the 1970’s. It is a technology industry and government would not be able to keep up with the changes in the market. It would always be giving subsidies to games that sold last year, not the ones that will sell next year.

Give us a fair playing field and we will give you a world class industry, create jobs and generate plenty of exports to help the balance of payments. Give us tax subsidies and the industry will be dead within a decade.

#5 business card sample on 09.12.10 at 12:25 pm

the above mentioned actions, if taken might shall surely strengthen the scottish game sector.

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