After our sister magazine MCV broke the news last week that the UK games market had hit an all-time high for its Q1 sales, trade association ELSPA has said the figures are further proof that the Government should be aiding investment in Britain's development studios.
According to ChartTrack figures, retailers turned over £418.4million across all software for the period 30th December to 29th March, with 17.89million units sold. Video games and home office software sales were up a third in value compared to last year’s figures of £317million market value and unit sales 15.62million. (Read more of the stats on MCV here.)
However "this only paints one side of the picture," said Paul Jackson, director general of ELSPA in a statement released to the press today.
He said: "We are thrilled to see the industry continue to grow at such a rapid rate and video game sales continuing to rise. This period has seen more innovative and family-friendly titles doing well and it is clear that consumers of all ages have been lining up to buy them. But this only paints one side of the picture, however.
“The UK continues to blaze a trail in terms of creativity yet over the last few years it is becoming apparent that some talent is being lured away by more attractive prospects overseas. As it stands, the UK is already down to fourth place from third as the world’s creative centre for games. It is time the Government recognised the massive financial contribution we make to the UK economy, especially when compared to the film, TV and music industries today. We call for a level playing field in terms of incentive and support. We would like to see a pledge from the Government that encourages investment in our development studios and talent at home.”
Of course, this has also been an issue regularly lobbied for by UK games development association Tiga - until recently ELSPA, which mainly represents publishers, had taken a more laissez-faire approach to the tax breaks and subsidies issue.
The UK Government recently confirmed that it was talking to the World Trade Organisation to challenge the tax breaks available to developers in Canada, alleging they distorted the global trade market.