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ununited

For my first Sunday Soapbox I planned to write about…Well, actually I didn’t plan anything really, so here goes the addled mind of an Englishman infront of a keyboard.

As a law-abiding citizen I’d like to see the government that watches over me and tucks me into bed at night as a friend, and I suppose I do see it as a friend. Albeit a friend who I feel I have to bang my head against the wall every time I hear it speak about me (a member of the games industry and gaming community, not myself personally, that would be weird.)

From politicians completing missing the side of the barn asking for content-control measures and power buttons that already exist, to government sanctioned campaigns (funded, partly, by junk food, TV and Internet corporations) that directly attack the games industry. It seems that I am on the side of a battle that constantly has to fight the very country it earns billions for each year.

Despite everything, it feels like we are not even taken seriously as an industry and given the benefits seen elsewhere in the world. Canada, parts of Europe as well as many other places around this soggy globe grant tax breaks or incentives for their games development and publishing industries.  Yet despite lobbying for it, the same treatment is not shown on the sunny shores of the United Kingdom.

Once the third most successful country for games development in the world, we have slipped to fourth due to the incentification of working in Canada, among other places. This dwindling development is a trend that will only continue without support to allow us to remain being seen as competition on global scale.

As a soon-to-be graduate, moving into the industry proper, the idea of staying in this country is a daunting one. A fair number of people in the same position as me are jumping ship over to the warmer climates of America, Canada or even Australia the moment they have a diploma in their hands, and I don’t doubt these decisions are being made up and down the country.

As a nation of game developers we have brought the world LittleBigPlanet, the Burnout series, the Grand Theft Auto series, Goldeneye, Crackdown, Lara Croft (as well as Lara Croft’s breasts.) There are probably hundreds of other titles that deserve to be mentioned above all those, but it’s 4am and I may have been drinking, so I guess you can go wiki them yourselves.

This is generally the place in an article, or even a rant, a conclusion comes so to sum up my pointless plea to a government that I don’t doubt will never read this. Please Mr. and Mrs. Politicians of England, and the other places attached to us, support the games industry, we’re nice people really. We may even make you tea and biscuits.

Oh, Geometry Wars too, we made that, and that was awesome.

  1. avatar manbearpig

    I agree with you a lot. With all the support the games industry in other countries are getting from their governments, the UK game industry will get smaller and smaller in comparison, the only reason the UK is still near the top is because of the amazing talents of people in the industry.

  2. avatar Typical

    It happened to our film industry.
    The Govt. dithered on working out the Tax bracket for the movie industry so the movie industry went to Australia.
    Name a big budget film in the 80′s, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Superman etc. All made in England, The last 3 Star Wars made Down Under.

    Looks like history is repeating itself with the game industry.

  3. It’s unfortunate to see U.K. game developers getting the proverbial shaft. I say you follow suit and come on over to North America!

  4. Totally agree with you, it’s tragic that our country is run by such old farts who are really ignorant to what the game industry is all about…. but, please, don’t betray your Queen! We NEED you!

  5. avatar Name (Required)

    In the UK we still have a big percentage of the population who think that video gaming is a sub-par hobby that is only enjoyed by anti-social headcases and children. You would think that the PS2 and Wii might have changed opinions but it doesn’t seem to be the case yet.

  6. The idea of moving to America is tempting I’ll admit, after going to Comic-Con last year, I practically fell in love with San Diego, and would settle for probably anywhere in California. You see, I’m always cold, right now it is sunny out and I’m wearing two t-shirts and a large hoodie, not good, but at Comic-Con i was able to wear just one t-shirt, was a tremendous experience.
    But I do want to stay loyal to Queen and Country, James Bond, Cricket, David Beckham and all that.

  7. avatar Adam

    Well Alex Chapman and Sheridans wrote a public letter to several MP’s regarding this issue, a reply has yet to be heard however I do think we will get the tax breaks eventually; as mentioned in the letter it will actually be of economic benefit if the figures Alex has quoted are to believed.

    As MD of a game dev studio I’m really hopeing we get the tax breaks. However I would also point out that Research And Development Tax credits are currently available and are very loosley defined; an innovative game can qualify for tax breaks if it incorperates some new pripherals/ technology.

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