Wednesday 29 October 2008
A new report entitled Game On! (published this week) has called for tax breaks to help save and boost Britain’s computer games industry. The study compiled by the Creative Industries Observatory (CIO), which is based at London College of Communication (LCC), suggested that the UK computer games industry is seriously suffering a great loss of talent from a lack of tax breaks. Meanwhile countries such as Canada are amassing the talent as a result of having such tax relief in place for developers.
Simon Roodhouse, director of CIO adds:“The voices from the industry and businesses themselves are calling for the government to act on a tax break scheme for UK based developers…An exemplary model is London’s film industry which has had a government support structure (through tax break scheme and national bodies), and has flourished as a result.”
Dr Richard Wilson of Tiga, the specialised national trade association in the sector, says:“The games industry is fleet of foot, capable of locating and investing wherever there is access to a skilled workforce, universities and favourable fiscal conditions.”
The‘Games Up?’ campaign has been launched by Tiga in an attempt to lobby government to maintain the world competitiveness of the UK industry.
Eidos, part of the largest UK-based publisher of computer games, predicts a loss of£100 million in 2008, forcing it to cut 25% of its workforce. The company believes that London could become home to a thriving computer games industry if given the right support by the government and the relevant resources are made available.
Other findings in the report:
• Britain is the leading European country in games development, companies and publishers and since 1988 London has been home to the European Computer Trade Show, which was the first game show in Europe.
• Although London is an important hub of games industry activity it is by no means prominent in the UK. It holds just over 50% of the workforce. The computer games sector is unlike other sectors in the creative media industries due to it being so spreadout around the country. Many of the large game publishing companies (Nintendo, EA) do not have a presence in London. This suggests that the capital is not an important location for the global industry despite the consumer market.
• The rising cost of development is threatening the independence of the studios, and as a consequence publishers have been acquiring teams of game designers to control both the development process, cost and the final products. Eg, Lionhead Studios is a London based company and was recently acquired by Microsoft Corp. to develop products exclusively for the Xbox platform.
For more information contact
1) Jessica Wallis, PR and Press Officer, 020 7514 2217
2) Anne Nicholls,Head of Marketing and Communications, 020 7514 2185
3) Silvio Pierluigi Pezzana, CIO
Notes to editors
1. The Creative Industries Observatory (CIO) was established in 2006 to provide robust research and data on the creative industries within seven cities– London, New Delhi, Mumbai, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It is based at London College of Communication, which is part of University of the Arts London.
2. Game on! A report on the interactive leisure software subsector in London. The report is designed to highlight the status of the video games industry in the UK in general and in London in particular. The analysis of information is from the CIO database.
3. The CIO Database which was used in this research, was constructed using three sources: (1) data from the DASH database, which compiles the business accounts details of UK companies as recorded by the Companies House; (2) sub-sector specific datasets purchased or provided by industry participants and professional bodies of creative industries; (3) data from sub-sector specific directories and manuals.
4. Tiga is the national trade association representing the business and commercial interests of games software in the UK and Europe. Its key objective is to keep its members atthe heart of the global games industry by helping to create a successful business environment for them and by representing the interests to government, Europe, and financiers.
5. London College of Communication (LCC) is the largest of the six colleges that make up University of the Arts London. It is based at Elephant and Castle and around 9,000 full-time and part-time students of all ages and backgrounds. Courses are run through four schools. School of Media: Courses include photography, film and TV production, journalism, animation, media, design, and sound technology. School of Graphic Design: Courses include graphic design, digital design, illustration, design for advertising, information design and design for the moving image and interior design. School of Printing and Publishing: Courses include publishing production, digital media production, book arts and crafts, booking binding and surface design. School of Creative Enterprise: Courses include enterprise and management for the creative arts,retail management, international travel and tourism, public relations, arts marketing, creative advertising.
6. University of the Arts London is the first dedicated arts institution in the UK to achieve university status. Based at 22 sites across London, from Oxford Street, to the Archway, to Hackney, Wimbledon and Southwark, the University brings together six of the world's most famous art and design colleges. They are:
• Camberwell College of Arts
• Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (incorporating Drama Centre and Byam Shaw School of Art)
• Chelsea College of Art and Design
• London College of Communication (formerly London College of Printing)
• London College of Fashion (incorporating Cordwainers).
• Wimbledon College of Art (formerly Wimbledon School of Art)
The Colleges have produced many of the greatest names in art, design, communications, fashion and performing arts, including: Anish Kapoor, Sir Terence Conran, John Galliano, Ralph Fiennes, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk, Stella McCartney, Gilbert and George, Antony Gormley, Pierce Brosnan, Rankin, Jefferson Hack, Mike Leigh, Malcolm McLaren, Colin Firth, Jane Root, Rebekah Wade, John Hegarty, Peter Kindersley and Tom Hunter.