The recently-announced tax breaks for Wisconsin-based games developers has already ruffled features – UK trade association Tiga says the move "highlights the need for both UK games developers and the UK Government to raise their game in competing for business".
In Wisconsin, film, TV and games firms can claim back 25 per cent on production-related expenses, plus a 15 per cent credit for infrastructure development under a new scheme which aims to make Wisconsin ‘a new Mecca for game development’, authorities said last week.
In a statement, Tiga CEO Richard Wilson said:
"Just as developers compete to win contracts and create the best games so governments compete to attract businesses to their jurisdictions. Wisconsin’s introduction of 25 per cent tax credits for film, TV and qualifying games studios demonstrates yet again the intensity of competition between governments to attract games and other media businesses to their territories. Many games developers in the UK will question why the UK Government will not give similar support to the industry here.
“The UK games development industry continues to be a leader of the pack, but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Games developers in the UK must continue to improve their creativity and productivity in order to enhance their competitive edge.
“The Government must play its part too. The UK video game developers support 10,000 highly skilled jobs, generate revenue for the Treasury and make a positive contribution to our balance of payments. If the Government wants to perpetuate this success story then it must establish a more favourable tax environment, increase the supply of skilled graduates without sacrificing quality and keep the regulatory costs on business relatively low. Otherwise, investment and expansion in the games industry will flow to those countries whose governments provide a more favourable climate for games businesses.”
Tiga is an organiser of the current Games Up campaign lobbying the government and media for better recognition of the costs and educational issues facing games developers in the UK.