After years of campaigning, outreach, advocacy and explaining things patiently to various governments, parliaments and public sector bodies, the European Commission has finally approved the games production credit scheme.
From April, companies across the UK will be able to apply for tax relief on the production of games which pass a cultural test.
The test will be administered and overseen by the British Film Institute and operate in a similar fashion to that for film, high end television and animation.
Dr Jo Twist, the CEO of UKIE said:
This is a huge boost to the UK games and interactive entertainment sector and the start of a great new era of games production in the UK. We are delighted the European Commission recognised the clear market failure for the production of games with a British and European flavour, using UK-based creative and highly skilled talent.
We are extremely happy to have played a part, as a strong collective voice for the industry, to get the scheme over the finishing line. We have been in constant contact with government throughout the process and have applied pressure and evidence for the scheme to be introduced at every opportunity.
I’d like to thank all the hundreds of games companies and individuals across the country who have worked so hard collectively and who have played such a crucial role in getting to this point. The next strategic priority for us now is in applying pressure in different ways so that games businesses can access more programmes which support access to international markets, training and finance so we can be fully recognised as a sector that can lead the world again.
Richard Wilson, the CEO of TIGA agreed:
This is a superb decision by the EU Commission and magnificent news for the UK video games industry. It is also a striking success for TIGA, for its members, and for the wider video games industry that TIGA represents. GTR will create jobs, boost investment and enable the production of more British video games.
TIGA responded to the EU’s formal investigation into GTR, and built a compelling case which demonstrated that: video games are cultural products similar to other audio-visual creations and so merit support; that the UK video game industry is competing on an un-level playing field because our key global competitors already benefit from tax relief or other forms of government support; that GTR is necessary and proportionate in design, and that it achieves all of these results without distorting trade and competition within the EU.
Our research has demonstrated tax relief for the UK video game sector will increase employment, drive innovation and secure additional investment in the industry. Specifically, TIGA’s research has shown GTR should create and/or protect 4,661 direct and indirect jobs; encourage approximately £188 million additional investment expenditure by UK studios; generate £172 million in new and protected tax receipts to HM Treasury, and all at a cost of just £96 million over five years.
Tax breaks for games production will help the UK fight its way back to the forefront of video game development. It will also help to further rebalance the UK economy away from an over-reliance on financial services towards a highly skilled, high-tech, R&D intensive and global-export focused industry.
This victory, the approval of GTR by the EU Commission is the culmination of a relentless and determined seven year campaign which was created and led by TIGA. The Commission is to be congratulated for this excellent decision. The UK Government, the EDGF, The All Party Computer and Video Games Industry Group in the Westminster Parliament, the Cross Party Group on Video Games Technology in Holyrood, the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party also all deserve full recognition for their ongoing support for this critical measure.
TIGA now looks forward to working with other interested parties on the implementation of GTR to ensure UK games developers and the wider economy reap the full benefit of this landmark moment in the history of our industry.
Thank you and congratulations to everyone who helped win GTR for the UK games industry.
Brian Baglow, Director of the Scottish Games Network said:
Awesome. Nice work everyone. Now, how do we work together to make things better?
UKIE is already planning a number of industry events around the country, to provide games companies with practical insight and information on the implementation of the tax relief and how companies can achieve full benefit from it.
The dates and locations for the briefings are:
- 15 April, London – UKIE HQ (14:00)
- 30 April, Edinburgh – Creative Exchange (18:00) – in partnership with the Scottish Games Network and Creative Edinburgh
- 2 May, Birmingham (14:00) – in partnership with Innovation Birmingham
More dates in Newcastle, Liverpool and Bristol will be confirmed in the coming days.
TIGA has also produced an incredibly useful FAQ for developers.
Congratulations to both TIGA and UKIE. They deserve a huge round of applause! This is a huge achievement for the UK’s games industry. Both organisations have fought long and hard to achieve this goal and it has the potential to radically disrupt and alter the whole game development community across Britain.
Here’s the first wave of British games…