UK Rejects Tax Breaks For Game Developers, Tiga Responds

by Jeff Marchiafava on Dec 09, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Developing video games is a difficult business, and for UK developers it’s not getting easier any time soon. For years Tiga, an advocacy group for game developers, has been calling for tax breaks to help the game industry in the United Kingdom. For years those requests have been rejected by the UK’s government – and this year is no exception. Today in a speech concerning the UK’s pre-budget report, Chancellor Alistair Darling called the argument for video game tax incentives unconvincing, leading to its exclusion from the budget.

The report recognizes the “valuable economic and cultural contribution” the video game industry makes in the UK, but states the evidence that the necessity for a “tax incentive for the development of culturally British video games” was not “sufficiently compelling.”

But the problem facing the UK isn’t the danger of their developers going bankrupt in this tough economic climate – it’s the danger of them leaving. Over the years an increasing number of UK developers have been packing up and moving to more developer-friendly countries that already offer massive tax subsidies.

In an interview with Develop, Tiga’s CEO, Richard Wilson, calls the government’s decision a “colossal mistake,” stating, “It’s all very well that the government says that it feels our pain that Canada is getting our workforce and business with its generous tax breaks, but why isn’t the government actually doing anything about it?" Wilson says he believes the argument for tax breaks will only grow stronger in the future, and that Tiga will continue to fight for them.

We’re interested in what our readers across the pond think: Is the Chancellor right for not dolling out more taxpayer money in light of the waning economy, or are video game developers just not being taken seriously? Let us know in the comments below.

[Via Develop]