Tax breaks the only choice to keep British gaming healthy

Media Information

For Immediate release: 20 May 2009

British developers should be given tax breaks by the government if it is to remain healthy for the next decade, according to the curator of a new exhibition which aims to celebrate and promote British gaming at a time when the industry fears it is operating with one hand tied behind its back.

The Canadian government gives its games industry large tax breaks, paying out 37.5 per cent of salaries and offering various tax holidays among other incentives. This means a game which just about break even in the UK suddenly becomes hugely profitable if made in Canada and the UK not supporting the gaming industry in a similar way has led to a brain drain abroad.

David Crookes, consultant curator of 'Videogame Nation', an exhibition which is currently running at Urbis in Manchester, says British development will be left behind if action is not taken. He commented:

"Only a couple of years ago, in terms of video game production Britain was third in the world behind the USA and Japan but now it's fourth behind Canada and starting to slip behind France too because there are greater incentives for developers to produce games in Canada and France."

Over the past two years, the number of development staff in Canada has grown by 33 per cent. In the UK the development community has grown by just eight per cent in the same period. Crookes continues:

"The games industry is stable and growing, even during a recession, that's why some governments are noticing the benefits of encouraging greater development.

They know that by creating the right economic environment for developers, there will be spin-off benefits and a rise in employment which in turn means more tax being paid into the system in the long run."

Figures suggest that more than 1,700 new jobs could be created in the UK if games development in Britain was handed a tax break. And while the government has promised it will review the policy it has not done so todate. Among the strong backers for a British tax break is the Game Developer Trade Association (TIGA), headed up by CEO Dr Richard Wilson, who adds:

"There is no doubt that tax breaks for the games industry in Canada have given a powerful boost to the growth of the industry in that country. We strongly believe in tax breaks for the UK industry, alongside more generous R&D credits and adequate funding for education at all levels. These elements are essential if the UK is to remain competitive in one of the world's most important creative industries."

'Videogame Nation' charts Britain's gaming history over the past 30 years and runs until September 20 2009. It aims to showcase the best of British talent and highlight the creative work carried out by thousands of employees in the industry. Throughout the exhibition key names such as David Braben (Elite), Matthew Smith (Manic Miner), The Oliver Twins (Dizzy) and Arthur Parsons (LEGO

games) from the British gaming industry will be appearing at unique events, held at Urbis.

Ends

For further information please contact Anys Scoular or Anita Morris at Anita Morris Associates on 01943 603311 or email anys@anitamorrisassociates.co.uk / anita@anitamorrisassociates.co.uk

Editors Notes

Urbis is open daily 10am-6pm

Entry to Urbis is free, entry to Videogame Nation is£3 Urbis, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG

Tel: 0161 605 8200 www.urbis.org.uk

1. Urbis examines, explains and celebrates city life through the experiences and cultures of the people living there. It is about city lives, city voices and city people. With four floors of evolving displays, dedicated to the modern and future city, and an ambitious events programme, Urbis is about covering what's new, original, and interesting about city life, and covering it first.

2. David Crookes is the consultant curator of Videogame Nation. He is also a journalist, having started his career writing for Amstrad Action in 1993. To date, his games writing credits include GamesTM, Retro Gamer, X360, Total PC Gaming and PLAY. He has also been news editor of Nintendo magazine NRevolution and his work is currently included in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2009. He has produced work for legendary videogame publisherSystem 3.

3. All figures are from Tiga:

Tiga is the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe. We have 150 members, the majority of whom are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.

Tiga's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that Tiga members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

For further information please contact Eva Whitlow on eva@tiga.org, or mob:

07814 039 983

4. 'Videogame Nation' is supported by Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo and www.consolepassion.co.uk who have all provided valuable content for the show.

5. Media partners for Videogame Nation are Imagine Publishing and BBC Radio Manchester. Imagine Publishing is one of the UK's fastest growing consumer specialist publishers. Formed in May 2005, it now publishes 20 magazines and 23 websites in the videogames, computing, entertainment and photography markets.

BBC Radio Manchester is Manchester's radio station and has been serving the city since 1970. It is proud to support Urbis and its exhibition programme of popular and contemporary culture.


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