The United States Republican party has suggested industry tax credits should not be extended to companies that create violent games.
According to the Washington Examiner, the House Ways and Means Committee’s tax reform bill singles out violent video game makers for exclusion from tax credits.
The bill calls for “an improved, permanent R&D tax credit, finally giving American manufacturers the certainty they need to compete against their foreign competition who have long had permanent R&D incentives”.
A later clause makes provision for “preventing makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit”.
As very few developers produce entirely non-violent catalogues, hardly any games companies would be eligible for tax credits under the proposed reforms; none of the major publishers like EA and Activision, for example.
The tax credit question is important for a couple of reasons. First, although there are many major games developers and publishers based in the US, there has been a marked talent drain to countries like Canada, which provide financial incentives for companies to set up shop locally. Additionally, the rising cost of development has pushed many companies into relying on international outsourcing, with independents like Spicy Horse upping sticks and moving east altogether.
Less tangibly, basing major economic policies on subjective interpretations smacks of censorship, and political and media tendency to demonise violent video games has been criticised as a distraction from applying effective policies to prevent or reduce violent crime.
In other economic news, the UK appears close to a resolution on its long-delayed tax credit scheme.