UK developers finally getting tax breaks, provided they pass a cultural test

Questions don't include how many crumpets a main character can eat, and how many times a gentlemanly commanding officer bellows "bloody hell" at the sight of trouble.

by

GTA V was developed in Scotland. The weather is never actually like this in the UK.

The UK games industry is now finally eligible for tax breaks, after the European Commission approved the long-delayed draft legislation for cultural tax relief.

The tax relief will come into effect for UK developers at the start of April. The move finally comes after years of setbacks, delays, and ongoing campaigning for the tax breaks, with the legislation originally outlined by the UK's outgoing Labour government way back in 2010.

To qualify for the tax breaks, games need to fulfil three criteria: that they are intended for public release, that at least 25 percent of the core expenditure comes from the UK, and that they pass a cultural test so that they can "promote the sustainable production of culturally significant video games in the UK."

While there's a suggestion that games can feature UK-based characters or settings to be eligible--Captain Price eating a pasty in Cornwall for the next Call of Duty game, perhaps?--the criteria can also be satisfied by the amount of development work taking place in the UK and whether the game's lead developers are UK citizens.

"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," said Jo Twist, CEO of trade body UKIE and avid campaigner for the tax relief.

"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."

Major developers in the UK include Lionhead, Rare, Rockstar North, Rocksteady, and Codemasters.

Martin Gaston is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @squidmania
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

73 comments
hystavito
hystavito

I don't know about the UK, but a lot of great games have already come out of eastern Europe.

edant79
edant79

I didn't think the UK had any culture since the early 1800s...


Huh, who'd ah thought.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

It's good that "culturally significant" refers to creative talent and not just content. Not too many interesting games can be made of British culture.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Cultural test for UK? Easy. You must like tea. Crumpets are not called crumpets they are pikelets. Football is hard to understand but footie is perfectly good. The chippie must be no lower than third on your list of choices for a take away. Unless you are on a night out and they are all closed, so you need to supplement the six - ten pints you just had (depending on your body mass) with a kebab instead.

Can I be tax exempt as well?

vadagar1
vadagar1

what kind of culture?!! 


cause there are so fucking many

Hurvl
Hurvl

"GTA V was developed in Scotland. The weather is never actually like this in the UK" If so, then is the "bitches all over the place" incorrect as well? Is the UK not ripe with those?

Mraou
Mraou

According to GameSpot, it's okay to make fun of your own kind, if you're the writer.

martingaston
martingaston moderator

As a British person with bad teeth, all of these jokes about bad teeth are making my bad teeth hurt. 

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

"The weather is never actually like this in the UK."

LIES!  I distinctly remember a sunny day last year! :P

shingui5
shingui5

Well, you achieved it, this comment section is actually worse than the CliffyB one. 

nurnberg
nurnberg

I hope this "cultural test" is not some politically correct liberal garbage.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

"Culture test"?  Do they have to be white too?

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Media Molecule...? No..?

Come on Gamespot! Geez! Us Brits like to support our fellow developers, if you're going to list the 'major ones' at least do it properly.

Tssssk!

tomservo51
tomservo51

Funny how everyone bashes the US healthcare, but when the wealthy get really sick, they all come here, not Canada or the UK or any "Free healthcare" country.

sabas10
sabas10

@chadwick1343  The U.S. already has lowered taxes on the entertainment industries, one of the reasons why Hollywood ever came to be. These cuts in Europe are made because the European industry is having trouble competing with the States.

SpazldNinjaDude
SpazldNinjaDude

@hystavito  There are plenty of great game from England. Total War, Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly). GTA (Rockstar). Frozen Synapse/Endgame (Mode 7 Games). Batman Arkham Trilogy (Rocksteady). Forza (Turn 10). Ubi have a studio in London.

SpazldNinjaDude
SpazldNinjaDude

@edant79  Yep, it stopped when the 1900s came around. Since then we have stayed in the past.

sabas10
sabas10

@PlatinumPaladin  Atleast Britain has a culture, unlike some nations... *cough* Assasin's Creed III *cough*

Wardishy
Wardishy

I have got to say I have never ever heard anyone call crumpets "pikelets" in my whole f-ign life here in the UK. Never. Never ever ever ever ever.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@Dannystaples14  Almost. Sounds like you've failed to meet the criteria of being a thirteen year-old with a child living entirely off council benefits that total more than what is earned by 30% of the country.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@Mraou  The problem is that there's no other nationality in the world that's quite as witty as the Brits. Apart from maybe the Australians, there's no one that can do a good job of taking the piss out of the us, and we Brits hate to see a job done poorly, so we'd rather do it ourselves.

Take the British Empire. It wasn't beaten by others, so WE had to pull the plug. :oP

martingaston
martingaston moderator

@Mraou  are you kidding me? Nobody does self-deprecating humour like people in the UK. It is quite literally in our blood. 

hystavito
hystavito

@nurnberg  Maybe it's not directly, but it might creep into it.  If a game comes out and raises controversy, the govt certainly won't like having the press add a note about how it received tax breaks or any kind of support.

shingui5
shingui5

@Thanatos2k  

All it means is the company needs to employ UK workers and spend money developing it in the UK.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@tomservo51 Well, US healthcare is the best when you can pay for it.  Thing is, most people here can't.

welterdude
welterdude

Better healthcare if you're rich.

What a shining example of equality that is.

Riddick123
Riddick123

@tomservo51  There is a reason I do not acquire free products.  They usually tend to be shit.

hystavito
hystavito

@SpazldNinjaDude @hystavitoI figured there were loads of them, I was more getting at I don't know which are because they do actually lack the "flavour" like the article talked about.  Those eastern European games are kinda more obvious, more flavour :), especially ones with the old Soviet/communist influence on stories and settings and such.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@PlatinumPaladin @HurvlIt says "bitches all over the place" in that above picture and I simply wondered if that was as unrepresentative of reality as Martin's weather remark. I didn't really expect an answer, just thought it would be fun to ask.

tomservo51
tomservo51

@welterdude  Fact remains, the Rich in your country come to the US for healthcare while youre left with 2nd rate healthcare. 

Riddick123
Riddick123

@welterdude  LOL equality.  You have good job you have good health care.  I am by no means rich.  My wife and I both work and are able to live decently.  How about all the rich Hollywood people start distributing their wealth to all of us working class.  Equality for all.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@tomservo51  That is normally because people need something removing from their ass that they are not qualified to handle in the UK. Seem to be a lot of those "niche" types of surgeons in the US.

Riddick123
Riddick123

@welterdude  I was referring to the equality thing.  Doesn't matter where you live.  There will never be equality when it comes to money and social class. Would be nice though.

welterdude
welterdude

@Riddick123 @welterdude  I didn't say you were rich. Read the comment above your own, that's what I was replying to.