entrepreneurship games industry

UK companies don’t suck, they just need tax breaks

According to Sefton Hill:

“You just think about quality developers like Bizarre Creations, Black Rock – people who are making really good games and going out of business. Those guys were so talented so how can that happen?

Well, obviously, it wasn’t anything to do with operational mis-management, poor commercial decisions, gambles that didn’t pay off, bad strategic decisions about partnerships/publishers/companies to sell themselves to, a global recession, failure to keep pace with changing trends in culture and audience, technology falling behind, etc.

No – it was the lack of tax breaks.


3 replies on “UK companies don’t suck, they just need tax breaks”

Tax breaks would obviously help keep some places open, but the amount of bleating that goes on regarding tax breaks is tiresome. If you make a bad business decision and/or make several games that nobody wants (due to them being crap, or poorly targeted etc.), tax breaks aren’t going to save your company.

It’ll probably make a difference for places where they just about break even with each delivered game, but for development studious that make one (or several) of the mistakes you’ve outlined? No. I worked for a company that had a $100m VC bonfire. If you read the press, you’d think that tax breaks would’ve made a huge difference. Nope. They would’ve given us a longer rope with which to hang ourselves.

I would add to the list “inherent risk in developing AAA games which rely on the very risky model of betting millions on everyone buying the game the week it comes out”. Smaller games and “games as a service” are – for me – the way to go now.

Of course this is bad news for new AAA franchises, as it’s hard to see where the next one is coming from, other than from deep-pocketed platform holders like Sony and MS.

They’re necessary to complete, like it or not.

Investment flows based on development costs which include them, and major companies site studios based on how friendly they perceive government’s to be – this government’s cancellation of the tax break was (rightly) seen as extreme hostility.

Sure, if you make an APB they won’t save you, but other studios? Yes, it would have made a difference. The games jobs are in Germany and Canada, these days.

Comments are closed.