UKIE has called for the cultural test for video games to accurately reflect how games are made in the UK today.
The games and interactive entertainment trade body wants the Government’s cultural test to be fit for “all parts of the games industry” and to “recognise the unique cultural nature” of the industry itself.
As part of EU law, all games will have to pass a cultural test in order to qualify for the proposed games tax relief, due to be introduced next year.
“The cultural test is an important part of the system allowing tax credits to be put in place,” said UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist.
“UKIE’s response outlines how we can have a rigorous test, meeting the needs of the EU state aid process, but a fair one that accurately reflects how games are made in the UK today and who makes them.
“We have also made recommendations that will help make sure that the test recognises all parts of the games industry, from the traditional console and PC markets to the mobile and social games that have emerged in recent years.”
UKIE’s main points are as follows:
• The cultural test should reflect that tax breaks need to be of real benefit to all parts of the games industry, from small independent studios and existing bigger studios to attracting inward investment from multinational companies
• The games industry cultural test should be given an extra maximum point allocation (raising it from 30 points to 31 points), bringing it in line with the total number of points available in the UK film industry’s cultural test
• The test itself should accurately reflect the process of how games are made today in the UK, including recognising coding as an essential part of the creative and artistic skill set involved in the crafting of interactive entertainment
• Games will not always have a traditional narrative, describable setting or characters of a recognisable species. UKIE therefore welcomes the Government’s proposal to recognise fictional settings and species
• Four points should be allocated to games made in the English language (up from two), again bringing this in line with the UK’s film industry cultural test
• UKIE welcomes the emphasis and potential points being allocated for using UK service providers
• The test must recognise that, in smaller businesses, for example microstudios, one-person will often do several key jobs and points should still be given for each of these roles
• UKIE calls for the team administrating the cultural test for video games to be recognised experts with significant experience and understanding of the games industry. If this resource sits under the BFI then it must be sufficiently resourced and the name of this cultural test body should reflect its wider remit.
The UK’s other games trade body, TIGA, has also outlined its recommendations for changes to the cultural test for games, which match many of the points raised by UKIE.
The two trade bodies have shared responses to ensure a consistent voice is presented to the Government on this crucial issue for the UK industry.