Wilson: Canada’s a threat to UK games industry

By Joe Anderson, Monday, 19 July 2010 06:29 GMT


TIGA’s Richard Wilson has said Canada’s “a major threat” to the UK games industry, something not helped by the recent scrapping of proposed government tax breaks.

Speaking on BBC One’s Politics Show yesterday, Wilson said “economically [the video games industry] is very important” to the UK.

“It contributes £1 billion to UK GDP, it generates £415m in tax receipts for the treasury, it employs 30,000 people – many of them in very highly skilled jobs – and it’s very export-focussed; just the kind of sector the UK economy needs in the future.”

Prem Gyani of Quickstart Global added the Canadians are “really serious,” adding, “they have identified the fact the games industry is part of their country’s strategy. They’re doing everything right.”

Executive director of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, Danielle Parr, says the country would have no qualms about taking investment away from the UK.

“I think a lot of people are looking at Canada and saying, ‘How are they doing this? They’re taking all our jobs. How are they attracting our investment and we’re not able to keep them here?'” said Parr.

“But as they say, all’s fair in love and war.

“We’re just simply trying to promote the videogame industry in general, promote what Canada has to offer, and we’ll take the best and the brightest; we’ll take your investment. As a nation we’ve made it a priority and invested a lot in this industry, and we’re hoping that will pay off with our continued growth and continued dominance in the videogames space.”

Conservative Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said at Develop 2010 in Brighton last week that he feels the UK is still able to keep up with the Canadians thanks to the “ecology of this country.”

“The Canadian government has made a decision to get behind the videogames industry and to create a videogames industry virtually out of nothing,” he said.

“But I think that it’s still a relatively level playing field because, while the Canadians are putting in a lot of direct financial support, it’s very hard to create the kind of ecology that we have in this country.

“Videogames have been around for 50 years, and we’ve been at the forefront of videogames development in this country. That’s very hard to replicate.”

The decision to go back on tax cuts has been a sore one for the British games industry, and it was a major talking point of Develop 2010.

It has been suggested companies such as Sony and Activision may even reconsider UK industry support.

Catch the game segment from yesterday’s Politics Show here.

Thanks, Gamerzines.

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