An even break

Tiga and ELSPA (sorry, UKIE) should be likewise singled out for applause after lobbying so hard and presenting the industry so well to the people that matter during the last two years.

Same goes for people like Ian Livingstone – you couldn’t interview the man of late without him (rightly) eloquently arguing for subsidies.

This has been a provocative issue the industry passionately fought for. Well done.

But right now the promise is still just that. There are still some uncertainties.

The Government is about to dissolve before the election. We might have a different PM in a month.

And after then, how long will the consultation period take? Can we help massage the tax break into 2011’s Finance Bill? Will the EC meddle? To what extent do we need to heed the ‘culturally British’ stipulation that such tax breaks hinge on?

We simply don’t know yet.

But in the wait for answers, the pressure is on the industry to not let any tax break message turn into one that says we were screwed until Darling gave us the nod. It’s that now with whatever government – red, blue or yellow – behind us, we can be even better as a games nation than ever before.

Activision spending 1m on marketing for the MW2 ‘Stimulus Package’ is a watershed moment.

It might not seem like it, but let’s say that again.
Activision is spending 1m (a million quid!) to promote some downloadable content.

To put that into perspective: Sony spent 750,000 promoting God of War III. And that was a disc-based release. It even made it to No.1 in the charts last week off the back of that.

DLC is not the novelty extra it was once considered. Check out our interview with Ben Feder on page 12 to see how important it is for Take-Two. Glance just to the right to see how David Reeves is championing it to sit at the heart of Capcom’s decision making.

Sure, there’s the usual opportunities for retail to keep its finger in – points cards, online subs vouchers, branded faceplates, T-shirts. There’s money to be made here as the excitement splashes over the sides of the digital channel.

But, ultimately, most of that money is being spent digitally. It’s another portent of the changes on the way.

And I think it’s becoming more and more likely that the biggest games released outside of Christmas won’t necessarily be the ones released on disc.

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