UK Games Industry Reacts to Brexit

UK dev Rebellion describes uncertainty as "unwelcome."


The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union.

The Brexit referendum closed with 52 percent of the votes in favour of ending membership in the EU and 48 percent in favour of remaining part of it. Following the announcement of the results, the pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 and shares on the FTSE 100 Index also dropped by eight percent.

The UK video game industry has responded to the Brexit outcome, with trade body UKIE saying the decision has resulted in some uncertainty for the industry. However, it has provided assurances it will work to ensure the UK "is the best place in the world to make and sell games."

"Although this decision and the political uncertainty it brings will have an impact on our businesses it is important to remember that we are already a globally successful sector and a leading exporter in digital economy," said UKIE chief executive Jo Twist.

Prior to the Brexit vote UKIE's members, which includes a range of developers, publishers, retailers, and Universities, overwhelmingly backed remaining in the European Union.

"UKIE will continue to work hard with colleagues in government to ensure we continue to have the best possible business environment and we will be following developments closely, as well as advising members as they unfold," Twist added.

Rebellion, the Oxford, England-based studio behind the Sniper Elite series and owner of the 2000 AD property, has said it believes the industry will remain strong.

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"The UK video games development sector is an export focused industry that sells content all over the globe," said chief executive Jason Kingsley. "We have a highly skilled workforce, a creative and growing studio population, and a heritage of 30 years of success.

"While uncertainty is unwelcome for business, the UK video games industry will remain strong, resilient, and competitive."

TIGA, a non-profit trade association that represents the UK game's industry, has called for the government to commit to keeping the video game industry remains healthy by ensuring it has "access to finance, a favourable tax environment," and can "access highly skilled people from outside of the UK."

"The UK video games industry is a high technology sector that provides high skilled employment for over 30,000 people, including approximately 11,000 development staff and which contributes £1.1 billion to UK GDP," said TIGA chief executive Richard Wilson.

"It is also export oriented, with at least 95 percent of studios exporting. Following the referendum in favour of Brexit, it will be more vital than ever to strengthen (and avoid harming) those sectors where the UK has a comparative competitive advantage: for example, aerospace, defence, high-value manufacturing and engineering, high technology industries, higher education, low carbon technology and the creative industries, including the video games sector."

He continued: "For the video games industry, it is particularly important that policy makers ensure games companies have access to sufficient finance, benefit from Video Games Tax Relief and R&D Tax Relief, have clear and stable IP rights, and can access highly skilled people from outside of the UK. Any new points based migration system must not be onerous or complicated, otherwise the industry's growth could be held back."

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