The clock just stopped. UK Chancellor Alastair Darling just confirmed that the UK games development industry is to get tax breaks.
Delivering his 2010 budget, Darling said, “We need to keep British talent in this country” and that the breaks would be “‘similar” to those afforded to the UK film industry.
The UK trade has immediately responded with outright delight.
In July last year, the government “committed to work with the industry to collect and review the evidence for a tax relief to promote the sustainable production for online or physical sale of culturally British video games” as part of its Digital Britain report.
TIGA has estimated that cultural tax break along the same lines as those given to the film industry will raise over £400 million for the treasury in five years.
Breaks will undoubtedly makes Britain more attractive to firms looking to set up large development studios. Quebec has constantly drawn the likes of EA and Ubisoft to set up shop with its biggest teams in recent years thanks to cash breaks, a situation TIGA tried to highlight with the WTO in 2008.
Canada’s financial stance on development saw its industry grow by 18 percent in the 18 months leading to the end of 2008 in terms of numbers employed, while the UK headcount fell by the same percentage.
We’re still waiting on specifics as to what’s actually being offered.