More news from the UK games industry has hit our inbox this morning, with the news that the removal of tax relief for the UK games industry could cause both Activision Blizzard and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe to think much more carefully about investing in the UK games economy.
“The UK video games industry is not competing on a level playing field,” said Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA. “Our key competitors have tax breaks for video games production. No such tax break exists in the UK. TIGA’s Games Tax Relief would put the UK on a level playing field. If Games Tax Relief is introduced then the UK will be open for business for the crucial knowledge industry of video game development. Games Tax Relief will stimulate investment, business growth and the creation of highly skilled jobs. Without Games Tax Relief, the UK faces a serious risk of losing out on millions of pounds of investment.”
Activision has spoken up on the subject, with head honcho Bobby Kotick saying that “For us to continue to invest in the UK there needs to be an incentive provided for us to do so… The talent pool in the UK is among the best in the world for what we do. But we really need to see some more incentives. We are seeing great incentives in Canada, Singapore and eastern bloc countries.”
Sony have echoed this statement: “The existing plans will continue but any further new developments would have to be looked at. Maybe something that was planned for the UK would go abroad now,” said Ray Maguire, Sony Computer Entertainment’s UK managing director.
Activision employs over 700 people in the UK, and Sony over 1,200. Without proper relief for the games industry in the UK we could see a lot of those jobs lost for cheaper ones in countries that do have tax relief, most notably Canada.