French government offers incentives for UK developers prepared to relocate

The French government is reportedly targeting British game developers, promising subsidies, loans, and tax breaks for those willing to relocate to work and contribute to France’s video games industry. The new campaign – entitled Join the Game – describes the France industry as “a major industry combining high-end artistic creativity and the best in technological innovation”, and promises to “support you throughout your project, from settling in to recruiting staff”.

The Guardian reports the campaign comes in response to Brexit and the uncertainty for many industries grappling with the UK’s uncertain future, drawing on comments by Games Workshop founder Ian Livingstone who warned last year that “by removing certainty and many of the existing benefits of EU membership, it is feared that Brexit will hinder the UK industry’s ambition to be the best in the world”.

The global industry does indeed have strong French roots, with some of the industry’s biggest contributors including Quantic Dream, Dontnod, Arkane Studios and, of course, Ubisoft. Incentives to relocate include a tax break on 30% of production expenses, up to a maximum of €6m each year, additional subsidies for creating “technically ambitious” original projects, and an equity loan scheme that allows companies to borrow up to €2m.

“In only a few years, video games have become France’s second largest cultural industry, behind books and ahead of cinema,” said French Directorate General for Enterprise, which is leading the campaign. “It is one of the most dynamic sectors in the French economy, with more than 5,000 direct jobs.” 

Anti-Brexit games industry campaign group, Games4EU published a report on the impact that a no-deal or hard Brexit would have on the UK games industry. The 51-page report looks into the numerous damaging outcomes of such a move – both to campaign against our exit from the EU, and to prepare businesses for the worst-case scenario.

“A no deal Brexit would be a disaster for interactive entertainment, a hard Brexit not much better, and we’ve been sleepwalking towards it since 2016. The legal, regulatory and tax rules in areas like customs, VAT, data, immigration to name a few – this is the bedrock on which UK interactive entertainment was built,” Jas Purewal, a leading solicitor in the games sector with Purewal Partners, said at the time. “If the UK leaves the EU things will be far harder for us but there has been very little industry discussion and no guidance from key industry stakeholders so far.

“This guide and the other work Games4EU is doing is intended to help the industry and gamers to understand, prepare for and fight the very real dangers posed by Brexit.”

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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