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UK government reveals video games cultural test requirement for tax relief

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:57 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

The UK government has released a list of criteria game developers will need to meet in order qualify for tax relief, via a cultural test attached to a legislation draft submitted today.

Games developed in the UK will earn points awarded on factors ranging from whether it contains a British storyline, to where the game takes place and where it was created.

How the game contributes to British culture will also be a factor.

The tax break, outlined by Chancellor George Osborne last week, will offer a payable tax credit worth up to 25% of qualifying expenditure, and is to be introduced in April 2013 with a relief schedule of £15 million divvied out in 2013-14, and £35 million in 2014-15.

Back in October, UKIE provided a list of guidelines to the British Government, suggesting ways in which it could assess the cultural relevance of games when developers and publishers applied for tax relief.

The Cultural Test is posted in full below, courtesy of Develop. Thanks, CVG.

(1) A video game may be certified as a British video game under section 1217CB(1) of the Act only if it passes the following cultural test.

(2) A video game passes the cultural test if it is awarded at least 16 points in total under paragraphs (3) to (6).

(3) Up to 16 points shall be awarded in respect of the content of the video game as follows—

(A) Up to 4 points depending on the percentage of the video game that is set in the following locations

(i) 4 points if at least 75% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state;
(ii) 3 points if at least 66% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state or set in an undetermined location;
(iii) 2 points if at least 50% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state or set in an undetermined location;
(iv) 1 point if at least 25% is set in the United Kingdom or another EEA state or set in an undetermined location;

(B) Up to 4 points depending on the number of the characters depicted in the video game with the following characteristics

(i) if there are more than three characters depicted in the video game, 4 points if two or three of the three lead characters are from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location or, if only one of the three lead characters is from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location, 2 points if that character is the first or second lead, 1 point if that character is the third lead;
(ii) if there are only three characters depicted in the video game, 4 points if two or three of them are from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location or, if only one of them is from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location, 2 points if that character is the first or second lead, 1 point if that character is the third lead;
(iii) if there are only two characters depicted in the video game, 4 points if both of them are from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location, 2 points if one of them is;
(iv) if there is only one character depicted in the video game, 4 points if that character is from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location;

(C) 4 points if the video game depicts a British story or a story which relates to an EEA state;

(D) up to 4 points depending on the percentage of the original dialogue that is recorded in the English language or in a recognised regional or minority language as follows

(i) 4 points for at least 75%; (ii) 3 points for at least 66%; (iii) 2 points for at least 50%;
(iv) 1 point for at least 25%.
(4) Up to 4 points may be awarded in respect of the contribution of the video game to the promotion, development and enhancement of British culture.

(5) Up to 3 points shall be awarded in respect of work carried out in the making of the video game as follows

(a) 2 points if at least 50% of the work carried out on any of the following is carried out in the United Kingdom

(i) conceptual development; (ii) layout and storyboarding;
(iii) programming;
(iv) visual design;
(b) 1 point if at least 50% of the work carried out on any of the following is carried out in the United Kingdom
(i) performing and recording the music score created for the video game;
(ii) voice recording;
(iii) audio production;
(iv) picture production.

(6) Up to 8 points shall be awarded in respect of the personnel involved in the making of the video game as follows

(a) 1 point if the project leader (or, if there is more than one, the main project leader) is a qualifying person;
(b) 1 point if at least one of the scriptwriters (or, if there are more than three, one of the three lead scriptwriters) is a qualifying person;
(c) 1 point if the composer (or, if there is more than one, the lead composer) is a qualifying person;
(d) 1 point if the artist (or, if there is more than one, the lead artist) is a qualifying person;
(e) 1 point if the programmer (or, if there is more than one, the lead programmer) is a qualifying person;
(f) 1 point if the designer (or, if there is more than one, the lead designer) is a qualifying person;
(g) 1 point if at least one of the heads of department is a qualifying person;
(h) 1 point if at least 50% of the development team are qualifying persons.

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11 Comments

  1. Eregol

    Well, 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Flaming idiots.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. ZeGerman1942

    I actually think these are some great rules. With quite a few points available, it should be easy enough to get 16 points and qualify. Companies want tax credits, then having some standards in order to get them is fair enough i think. Otherwise large companies could set up a small studio in the UK, list it as the head office and develop everything in cheaper countries. These guidelines can help revive the UK games development sector.

    The points from production alone should be easy to achieve. and don’t forget that the EEA has over 30 members i think, so characters, story, setting can be very varied.

    Even thinking Modern Warfare 3 for example, you got some british main characters, some of the levels are set in the the UK/EEA etc. so even that title would right off the bat get a handful of points. If it was developed in the UK then it would easily reach 16 i’d think.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. freedoms_stain

    AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    *pause for breath*

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Imagine Canada used the same set of retarded rules. Mass Effect would be really fucking different eh? What with at least 25% of the game taking place In Canada and all the main characters being super obviously Canadian. “Sorry there Mr Geth”.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. ZeGerman1942

    @3 that’s 4 points for setting.

    If you use Canadian voice actors etc., a canadian development team make the main characters canadian (or North American to be equivalent to the UK AND EEA rule) then you could still fullfil the 16 point requirement to get tax relief. Shepard, Anderson, Hacket, Joker, Chakwa(sp) and many other main characters already are (or could be) north american.

    Also at least for ME3, part of the setting could have been in canada or north america (instead of london) and you get a point from that too.

    Obviously there are restrictions but is that necessarily worse than handing out tax money for free – how long is that feasible?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. freedoms_stain

    @4, we’re talking about a country that allows billions in corporate tax avoidance, giving the video games industry a leg up is a drop in that ocean.

    The point of offering a particular industry a tax rebate is that in the long run it will generate more revenue than what was given up in the rebate anyway. So potentially it’s not only feasible, it’s profitable.

    Now tying a bunch of retarded ‘British’ rules to the program that have the potential to put a heavy limit on the mass appeal of your games, that’s not very feasible.

    Under these rules a game in a fantasy setting could not qualify for this tax scheme even if it was a 100% British production. That’s dumb. Mass Effect could not qualify if the Canadians used these rules.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. ZeGerman1942

    @5 do the math on the rules.

    If the entire production team is british or an EEA state member, if the game is done in the english language (which is pretty much a default anyway) and if it is produced in the UK then you already have 15 points. You need 1 point from the rest – make your main character(s) british or from an EEA member state and you are done.

    That way you can make a fantasy game or sci fi game or any game and still get the tax advantage.

    Honestly comparing Canada and the UK is quite hard to do. When the canadian tax breaks were set up the entire world economy was different, it was done to revive certain regions (not all regions in canada have tax benefits). If you believe some reports over the years, these regions, while seeing short term increase in business and a revived community, have not figured out the long term effect yet – some of the companies are registered outside of canada, so not all earnings are taxed in canada (i.e. your “it flows back in” argument is not always valid).

    Setting tax breaks up in the UK now, after a recession and in a country that has a lot more issues to deal with, is not as easy i would say. The government has to justify giving an industry any kind of tax break and that’s what these rules are for – and i for one think they are ok, and not too binding. And it’s better to get some tax breaks than none at all no?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. freedoms_stain

    @7, if you set your game in a Fantasy world then you can’t set it in the UK or have British characters. You cannot make up that point.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. fps_d0minat0r

    Lol so now developers have to play this game before they actually start making their game?
    if the developers made a game that met the points criteria, they would probably lose more money than they can gain from not paying tax.
    they might as well pay the tax and tell the government… ‘sorry, theres better places to set games in than the UK and development should be multi-cultural.’

    wont be surprised if more UK developers close and move to places where the company pays less tax, the staff pay less tax and their creativity is not limited by some bullshit points system to save some tax.

    …so much for tax doesnt have to be taxing.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Cobra951

    Uh oh . . . So much for that.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    Wow, talk about idiot politicians.

    Looks like they aren’t that hungry for high tech jobs. Oh well, the internet is just a fad.

    And what on earth does the british public get out of those requirements, except a pointless, petty little fix of nationalism?

    Pip pip cheerio, lads.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Digital Bamboo

    This is so…sad? funny? strange? I don’t even know, it kind of hurt my brain a little bit to read that much bullshit.

    This point system is truly incredible. So, under this system, a game based on, say, Jack the Ripper murdering prostitutes, would be awarded full points, whereas a game like Valkyria Chronicles–with it’s anti-war messages–wouldn’t make the cut, because it clearly takes place in a fictional world, nothing like Europe at all. Genius.

    #11 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition has been updated with a new and exclusive console-only map called “Pacific Island”, which also comes with a Japanese tank. Players will be able to wreck havoc in their very own Japanese Chi-Nu Kai tank, which ca be picked up through the in-game store for Tier 5. It tank […]

  • Here’s the first trailer for OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood

    Roll 7 has released the first trailer for OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood. Gameplay in the second outing will include ramps, jumps and hills, allowing for plenty of air and split level routes. It comes with a deeper combo system with Manuals, Reverts, Revert Manuals and Grind Switching. The ‘Tricktionary’ has also been updated with new […]

  • Learn all about the single-player mode in this Evolve video

    A video showing off the single-player portion of Evolve has been released by 2K and Turtle Rock. All content in the game can be played in either online multiplayer or offline in single-player. The video below contains two matches of Defend mode played from both the Monster and Hunter perspective. AI obviously takes on the […]

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U update comes with 15 extra stages

    An update for Super Smash Bros. Wii U has been released, and it comes with 15 new stages for the 8-player mode. The update, version 1.0.2., is 316MB in size and the stages are split with nine normal stages and six Omega stages. Here’s the list: Regular stages Animal Crossing – Smashville Animal Crossing – […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update includes Metroid Prime Trilogy, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. demo

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Shadow of the Ninja on Virtual Console and a demo for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Here’s your update: Metroid Prime: Trilogy – Wii U Rock ’N Racing Off Road – Wii U Frenchy Bird – Wii U Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – […]

  • Battlefield Hardline open beta takes place next week on all systems

    Details and dates for the Battlefield Hardline open multiplayer beta were announced by EA and Visceral Games today. From February 3-8, the beta will be available to all players worldwide on Origin for PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. You’ll notice that the dates coincide with the Microsoft slip up earlier in […]

  • Transistor, Yakuza 4, Thief headline February PS Plus offerings

    Sony has announced your free PlayStation Plus games for the month of February. Come February 3 in North America and February 4 in Europe, Plus members on both side of the pond will be gifted with the following: Transistor (PS4) Apotheon (PS4) Yakuza 4 (PS3) Thief (PS3) Rogue Legacy (PS Vita|PS4|PS3) Kick & Fennick (PS […]

  • Life is Strange launch trailer and final dev diary released

    With the first episode of Life is Strange releasing tomorrow, Dontnod Entertainment has released the last developer diary for the title as well as the launch trailer. Titled Creating Arcadia Bay, the video provides more information on the licensed soundtrack as well as the voice actors behind Max and Chloe. It also touches upon how […]

  • LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers out this year

    LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers have been announced by Warner Bros., the former was outed by Toys R Us and then teased at the end of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, if you recall. LEGO Jurassic World encompasses all four Jurassic Park films and will be made available in June for 3DS, PC, […]

  • Pokemon, Super Smash Bros. top Nintendo’s million units sales list for Q3

    Nintendo has posted a list of titles which have sold millions of units as part of its quarter three earnings release. Global unit sales of 3DS titles for the nine months ending December 31, 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: 9.35 million (life-to-date, same) Super Smash Bros.: 6.19 million (life-to-date, same) Tomodachi Life: 2.11 […]

  • How to take a screenshot on Xbox One: a lesson in frustration

    Trying to do just one simple thing seems to have 360 steps with Microsoft – why is the Xbox One’s functionality such a car crash? “The Xbox One’s definition of usability is in fact the exact opposite – this is a console designed to make life inconvenient for its players unless they sign up for […]

  • Game of Thrones’ Westeros is being made in Minecraft by 125 people

    WesterosCraft, the project dedicated to creating the entirety of Game of Thrones’ Westros has resurfaced. There are more than a few ambitious Minecraft projects, but hardly any as impressive as WesterosCraft. We first came across it all the way back in January 2013, but it looks much better now. “I would say the world is […]

  • Dying Light exploit gives you unlimited money and items

    Dying Light has been out for just over a day and an infinite money and item exploit is already out there. A simple exploit has been discovered in Dying Light that lets you duplicate weapons, all of which you can sell for profit. Win/ win. YouTuber PowerPyx lays out the steps in the handy video […]

  • Sunset Overdrive concept art is as jovial as the game itself

    Sunset Overdrive is a colourful game which is partly due to its concept art. The concept art featured below is created by Vaughan Ling, one of the concept artsists who worked on Sunset Overdrive. Anyone who’s played the game will immediately recognise the locations, weapons, character designs and general atmosphere of the game through these. […]

  • Get an extended look at the PS4 version of Project CARS

    The PlayStation 4 version of Project CARS has been shown in 1080p 60fps. The video below is captured by racing game enthusiasts Team VVV from a preview build. You can see different racing disciplines being demonstrated here, on different circuits. The game’s impressive visuals get even better when the weather gets worse.

  • Battle Pod is the Star Wars arcade game you’ve waited your whole life for

    Star Wars: Battle Pod is an arcade game that lets you replay the battles of the original trilogy, and features an incredible cockpit. If you’ve never played a game at an arcade before, Star Wars: Battle Pod will definitely be the one to change your mind. It’s an arcade cabinet out of a classic Star […]

  • CoD Exo Zombies: how to unlock the Ride of the Valkyries Easter egg

    To no one’s surprise, Exo Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has some Easter eggs. The first Exo Zombies Easter egg, of surely many more to come, has been discovered. It’s a musical one that involves Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. How you unlock it is not as convoluted as you might […]

  • Dying Light is sub-1080p on Xbox One, full 1080p on PS4 – report

    Early analysis of Dying Light on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has revealed a few technical details about both ports. Digital Foundry has produced some analysis of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of Dying Light based on some early testing. Both versions manage a solid 30 frames-per-second, only dipping below that in […]

  • Battlefield 4 Second Assault DLC free to all EA Access members

    EA is offering Battlefield 4′s Second Assault expansion free to anyone with an active EA Access subscription. Anyone with an active subscription to EA Access can download the Second Assault expansion pack for Battlefield 4 starting January 29 and through February 28, free of charge. All you need to do is find it on the […]

  • The Witcher 3 is getting optimised, but no visual downgrade

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the final stages of development and developer CD Projekt RED is making sure optimisation work doesn’t impact the game’s visuals. The Witcher 3 art producer, Michal Stec, spoke to Eternity in an interview and was asked whether the team will downgrade the visuals to get better performance. “No. […]

  • Can’t download Dying Light on PS4? Here’s a fix

    If you’ve bought Dying Light on PS4 and you’re having trouble downloading it, you’re not alone. Here’s how to beat the bug. Techland’s Dying Light is stumbling out of the blocks a little this week, with many PS4 users experiencing problems with their full-game downloads. A bug’s to blame. Your console thinks you’ve already installed […]

  • What The Witcher 3 owes to Skyrim – and how it surpasses it

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt owes more than a nod to Bethesda’s Skyrim. I went to see The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and had a great time. I went in a fan of the books but not very experienced with the first two games. I came out with The Witcher 3 top of my gaming […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online has great monsters

    Dragon’s Dogma Online looks pretty rad – an undesirable quality in a game unlikely to come west, from our perspective. The first Dragon’s Dogma trailer was released this afternoon; admire its beauty below. The free to play online RPG was announced for PC, PlayStation 3 and PS4 overnight, but Capcom doesn’t intend to bring it […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X map about five times the size of last game’s

    Xenoblade Chronicles X is not a small game. This week’s Famitsu has a feature on Xenoblade Chronicles X giving some details on Monolith Soft’s next RPG and first Wii U game. According to Siliconera‘s translation of reports on the feature, the game’s map is about five times the size of that in Xenoblade Chronicles. The […]

  • Take on Mars expected to hit beta in April

    Take on Mars, the space sim from Bohemia Interactive will soon be reader for wider consumption. According to a new Take on Mars development roadmap, the sim will go into beta at the start of April, with full release expected in June. The project is currently available via Steam early Access, but between now and […]

  • Can you guess the next Mortal Kombat X character reveal from this fatality audio clip?

    Mortal Kombat X will have at least one very liquid-sounding fatality. NetherRealm is revealing Mortal Kombat X’s cats one character at a time, and has promised a new reveal during a community Twitch stream tomorrow. It also provided the following teaser video – it’s audio only, and apparently taken from a fatality sequence. What’s your […]

  • Nintendo Creators Program now recruiting YouTubers – PewDiePie, others weigh-in

    Nintendo has opened a Creators Program designed to ensure creators get a slice of ad revenue from videos featuring Nintendo assets, and some prominent YouTubers aren’t pleased with the company. Update “What Nintendo are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTube,” wrote Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) on his […]

  • Xbox Live issues under investigation

    Can’t sign into Xbox Live? Microsoft is on the case. Xbox 360 and Xbox One users report being unable to sign in to Xbox Live. Microsoft is already aware of and working on the problem. “Our team is hard at work right now trying to get this resolved. Thank you for staying patient while we […]

  • Make money from your non-Valve mods with Steam Workshop

    Valve has opened the money-making side of Steam Workshop to third-party titles, giving enterprising modders more ways to make money. Steam now hosts curated Workshops for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the first non-Valve games to support the scheme. What that means is that community members can create, vote on and eventually even […]

  • Check out DmC: Devil May Cry’s new manual lock-on

    DmC: Devil may Cry developer Ninja Theory has released a video showing off the new, controversial lock-on mode. The new manual lock-on is causing quite a stir, although its reception is probably better than the white-wigged Dante who makes fans even more upset than the original makeover. “The primary purpose of this video is to […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes looks pretty fun

    Dragon Quest Heroes is yet another Omega Force take on an existing property – like Hyrule Warriors or the One Piece games. And it looks pretty sweet. We haven’t heard much from Dragon Quest Heroes here in the west because it hasn’t been confirmed for release outside Japan. This isn’t terribly surprising as we still […]

  • Square Enix to reveal new PS4 game this weekend

    Square Enix is doing something pretty mysterious right now. The Final Fantasy publisher is teasing something called Project Code Z. The project, which Square Enix is tweeting about in Japanese, English and German, is due for reveal at Tokaigi 2015 on Saturday. It’s a PS4 game, but that’s all we know. There’s a website you […]

  • Tetris has crowned its first known western Grand Master

    Tetris fans have a new western champion. Tetris is one of those gaming obsessions that goes much deeper than you might expect. For example, did you know that some versions of the game assess your performance and over you the chance to become a “grand master”? Turns out that’s a thing, and according to Polygon […]

  • Ken Levine’s next game teased as “sci-fi-ish” small, open-world RPG

    A series of tweets from BioShock creator Ken Levine has shed a sliver of light upon his next project. According to Levine he and his team are considering something a bit sci-fi and contemplating first-person mode. The team is developing the game for PC with a large in scope, expandable, systems-based narrative where more can […]

  • Become a lynx in new Shelter 2 trailer

    Shelter 2 casts players in the role of a lynx, which makes for quite a different experience to the badger of the first game. The first Shelter game had you evading predators, but in the second, you becomes one yourself. That doesn’t mean there are no dangers to face, of course. Judging by the trailer […]

  • Why King of Fighters 13 isn’t coming back to Evo

    Evo, the premiere western fighting game tournament, has dropped support for a few previously favoured titles. King of Fighters 13 had a loyal following, but isn’t featured in the Evo 2015 line-up. “Many things go into what games makes it to Evo, but the most obvious one is, ‘Is the community playing this game?’” Evo […]

  • An average Evolve match takes less than ten minutes

    Evolve players are pretty quick at hunting each other down. Evolve developer Turtle Rock has released an infographic brimming with statistics garnered from its recent beta test. One of the key takeaways is that all three monsters, and all four classes, are working as intended – their performance in game matches Turtle Rock’s designs. If […]

  • Super Mario Amiibo can be pre-ordered on Nintendo UK, Mario and Peach sold out

    The latest set of Amiibo in the Super Mario series is now available for pre-purchase through the Nintendo UK Store. Each of the following sports a red base and will run you £10.99: Bowser, Luigi, Mario, Peach, Toad and Yoshi. It looks like Peach and Mario are both sold out, though. All six can be […]

  • The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 free to download now

    League of Legends has excellent music, and now you can have it too. The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 collects 15 tracks from the MOBA’s history, and is available for free. You can grab the music from iTunes, Google Play or via direct download. Tere’s an example track below to get you in […]

  • Super Bowl 49 update arrives on Madden NFL Mobile

    With Super Bowl 49 occurring this coming Sunday, February 1, EA Sports has updated Madden NFL Mobile with new feature enhancements and Super Bowl-themed Live Events. Updates include: League vs League Tournaments Obstacle Course Super Bowl Bonus Players Tom Brady and Richard Sherman Super Bowl Legends Super Bowl Moments Upgraded Auction House The Super Bowl […]