Activision CEO says British games development has become less attractive after Government cancelled tax break promise

Kotick: ‘We really need UK games incentives’

Activision has spoken out against the UK government just a week after Chancellor George Osborne dashed developers’ hopes by cancelling Labour’s promised games tax breaks.

The Financial Times this evening quotes the company CEO Bobby Kotick as saying the Activision needs financial investments to keep encouraging it to invest in the UK – otherwise it’ll start looking to build studios elsewhere.

“For us to continue to invest in the UK there needs to be an incentive provided for us to do so,” said Kotick.

Last week Osborne removed tax breaks from the proposed changes to the Finance Bill, describing moves to support the UK games industry with subsidies as ‘poorly targeted’.

But Activision begs to differ – it employs 700 in the UK, including staff at key sites Bizarre Creations in Liverpool and FreeStyleGames in Leamington Spa.

They are just two studios in a vast network of Activision studios – most of which are in the USA, but it also has a site in Quebec City – the studio Beenox it acquired a few years ago. Beenox continues to receive up to 35 per cent of the tax from its games back thanks to generous state aid designed to foster the Quebecois games development sector.

UK becomes less attractive with the subsidies withdrawn, said Kotick.

“The talent pool in the UK is among the best in the world for what we do. But we really need to see some more incentives. We are seeing great incentives in Canada, Singapore and eastern bloc countries."

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