This long and at times painful hardware generation – it will be eight years since the 360 unveiling when we see the Next Xbox in three weeks – is matched by just one other drawn out saga: tax breaks for games made in the UK.
Every two steps forward on this issue has been matched with one plod back. It has culminated in European Commission ghouls blocking the games element of an imminent new creative sectors subsidy in the Finance Bill.
UK top brass are confident that this bump in the road will be speck in the rear view mirror by year’s end.
But still: every twist has been cruel irony for us. An event this week to usher in subsidies for television and animation attended by chancellor George Osborne was almost too embarrassed to mention games, but the auditorium’s ‘high end TV’ suits are happy to feast on a meal our industry bought the ingredients for, but can’t eat.
Games will hopefully have the last laugh. We’re not in the desperate state of begging US execs to commission games in London or Dublin just because they have good places to shoot Game of Thrones on.
This has always been a long game. Our output is deeper and more durable than the cheap thrills of TV. So maybe it’s fitting that the journey to getting the tax breaks has been just as arduous.
E3 NO SHOW IS UNDERSTANDABLE
If you were a publisher with an imminent post-summer release like Take-Two or have a bounty of new games to showcase like Nintendo, you wouldn’t think twice about making E3 a priority.
But that’s what those two have done, with Nintendo dropping its fanboy fuel press event and the 2K label skipping the expo this year.
I’m not convinced that correlations between this and the health of E3 are valid. Especially when you take into account ESA stats that attendance sign-ups are tracking ahead of 2012’s.
In fact, excitement is such for the big showings around two next-gen consoles, it’s no wonder that 2K and Nintendo have stepped back – better to get out of the way than waste money getting trampled.
And when the most common grumble from E3 attendees is that they never having enough time to see it all, a more focused trade show might actually make for a better trade show.