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Activision and Sony to re-think UK industry support

Tuesday, 29th June 2010 23:34 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has warned that the company will cease to invest in the UK should the government fail to provide incentives or tax relief to the games industry.

The company, which owns UK studios Bizarre Creations and FreeStyleGames, recently joined TIGA with Kotick telling the Financial Times that something needs to be done.

“For us to continue to invest in the UK there needs to be an incentive provided for us to do so,” he said. “The talent pool in the UK is among the best in the world for what we do. But we really need to see some more incentives.

“We are seeing great incentives in Canada, Singapore and eastern bloc countries.”

Sony UK head Ray Maguire is of the same thought, telling the paper the firm would continue with existing projects in the UK, but future projects “would have to be looked at”, adding that upcoming projects planned for the UK could possibly “go abroad”.

Six of Sony’s 15 studios are located in the UK, including Evolution Studios, Media Molecule, and SCE London to name a few.

Last week, it was announced that Chancellor George Osborne had canceled UK videogame tax relief and incentives, despite pre-election pledges made by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party in support for games tax relief.

It was also rumored that a global publisher with incentives outside the UK sector had thrown a wrench in the incentive, but TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson laid the blame squarely at the feet of the UK Treasury.

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9 Comments

  1. Razor

    Inevitable.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Gama_888

    really hope this doesn’t happen as im pursuing a career in games development :-/
    although i guess going abroad wouldn’t be too bad ;P

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Hunam

    I’m pretty sure UK Government > Bobby Kotick in terms of power. He likes to rattle his sabre sure, but Sony is one thing, a country is another.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Droid

    No big loss. Plenty of other companies doing ok here.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. hitnrun

    “The talent pool in the UK is among the best in the world for what we do.”

    Then you’ll continue to develop there.

    Just another rent-seeking type trying to pocket some public funds. It’s never, ever adds up to incentivize a certain kind of business activity with government payoffs (if your goal is strictly economic, anyway). You always end up paying more than you’ll ever get back.

    The UK has a much stronger incentive for game companies than taxpayer sugar. Namely, its a nexus of the Anglosphere. You can’t develop successful games for the American, Canadian, and British markets by moving your dev house to Indonesia. Heck, it’s not even a sure thing to develop in Tokyo nowadays.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Demiath

    @hitnrun: Although I’d say the picture may not be quite as black-and-white as that in terms of the benefits for individual companies, I completely agree that tax-based incentives are highly artificial ways of stimulating an industry.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. OlderGamer

    How many squilions does Acti make a year? Yea sorry, but I think they can pay their damn taxes like the rest of us(on either side of the pond).

    No way I am feeling sorry for them. And what a bunch of dogs they are trying to muscle the gov, the fans, an dthe workers around like that. If the talant is there, they should stay. Period. If not go see if asia can crank out the next CoD level game for them. I think not.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Dannybuoy

    That is fucking ridiculous. What greater incentive than some of the worlds best talent? Spend loads on a costly relocation just to get lower skilled workers for te sake of saving a few pounds? I know business is business but come on. Keep those toys in the pram would you.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Freek

    EG podcast had a bitt about this, and yes publisher prefer to relocate talent to tax incentive countries like Canada.
    Aparantly a major part of the development teams at studios like EO Montreal are Brits.

    #9 5 years ago

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