UK tax breaks - an unfair advantage?


In case you missed it, the British chancellor of the exchequer - our guy in our treasury, basically - launched his annual budget yesterday. He is going to make tax breaks available to game writers over here.

Clearly this is good news for game writers. You might consider (for example) Batman to be a quintessentially American character and I'd have some sympathy with that view. Nevertheless, the award-winning Batman: Arkham Asylum, which won a Bafta award last week, is primarily a British written game. We have the talent over here.

So why, as a Brit writing for an American blog, am I not overjoyed by this? It's simple. My countrymen have just won this prestigious awards (think Brit equivalent of the Oscars, and yes of course we understand the scale doesn't compare but we're a small island so it wouldn't) by themselves. No extra tax breaks, nothing.

Now they're going to have some sort of subsidy. People will be able to claim, with some justification, that if we win anything further then it's because our Government has moved the goalposts.

Unless competing nations are also offered a subsidy this is going to distort the market. And you could end up with a market in which the person with the best subsidy rather than the one with the best games and best talent starts to dominate the market. And I can't see that as being in the best interests of anyone other than those who are directly subsidised.

About the Author

Author, 'This Is Social Media' (Capstone Publishing 2009); freelance journalist in the UK for the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Independent and others.

jwenting 1,649 duckman Team Colleague

Even with those tax breaks they'd still be among the highest taxed IT shops in the world.

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