It's been a few months now, but with recently opened doors it's time that XBLG also shares the same news and gets up to speed. Especially since although the original information passed in March it has huge potential for XBLG and the UK games industry in general.
So, what am I talking about? I'm talking about the Government's choice to allow tax breaks on the UK gaming industry. Many of you out there may not quite understand what level of impact this now has, so let me explain a few details;
The UK has been in a very slippery position regarding its world rank in the production of computer and video games. So slippery in fact it's hard to give us a definitive place. Before the tax break announcement the UK had fallen to 4th behind that of Japan, America and then France. Even Canada had surprisingly risen to a top spot because of their own tax breaks and we were overtaken by France again, because of tax breaks. Although, with France being the key centre of Activision Blizzard it's easy to understand why our former position isn't as unrivalled as it once was.
A lot of people I talk to are confused. They are confused as to how we're even that high. After all, how many companies can you name that are based in the UK? I bet there's one in particular you'll never name. Eutechnyx. They're so unknown, yet so insanely popular the contradiction is somewhat perplexing. They mainly specialise in racing games and recently acquired the rights to the NASCAR series. In previous years they were the creators of Big Mutha' Truckers, set in Hick County where the player completes trips between cities in an attempt to inherit their family's business. These huge hits are known in America and never seen in Britain, their native soil. Other big contenders include EVE online's studio CCP, Driver: San Francisco and Just Dance 3's Ubisoft Reflections and over in Scotland we have the delight to host Grant Theft Auto 5's Rockstar. There's a myriad of others including Codemasters and even back in the day Midway's doors were open here on British land. An ever increasing amount of smaller indie game companies mainly focused on XBLA and Android development see's the UK streamlining its way forward now that tax breaks are afoot.
So what does this mean? No taxes mean fewer costs. Specifically, less production costs. How this extra money could be used is up to the developer but here's some food for thought;
- Programmers: More money means a larger workforce. More jobs for programmers means less unemployment. More hands on deck and so in theory more skilled workers better & lower the production time of games. Bugs are isolated and fixed/patched quicker meaning a better service for us. More ideas manage to hit the floor so there's more diversity in the workplace and in gold releases.
- Research and Development: Sick of the same games being released day in, day out? Ubisoft employees are after recent articles have hit the web explaining their lack of enthusiasm and demotivation of creating "yet another shooter". Call of Duty itself, and all of the Call of Duty clones. The same mechanics making and breaking what should be formidable top-market titles ruined because marketing departments have sunk their hands into the once prime industry. RnD allows us more expansive games, and with more money there's slightly less risk in new IP. So, with the next console generation just around the corner we can expect quality from the get-go with quantity deviating the usual soaked genres.
But of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Here at XBLG we're sure as hell proud to be opening at such a pivotal turning point for games entirely. What's better is we're here to report back the important bits to you guys. Heck, with this we're likely to see less people leaving the UK to work abroad. Strengthening and raising our position. Maybe, just maybe, that with these tax breaks we can get back to what it should have been all along: The aim of good games, and good game design.
...Then again, C. G. Jung puts it best. "One of the most difficult tasks people can perform, however much others may despise it is the invention of good games."
XBLG Content Writer