Activision, Sony: Lack of UK tax relief is an issue

Written by Joe Martin

June 30, 2010 | 10:50

Tags: #industry #politics #tax-relief

Companies: #activision #government #sony

Activision and Sony bosses have admitted that the loss of tax relief for the UK games industry may be an issue that could affect future projects, forcing the heavyweight publishers to develop in other countries.

The UK games industry, which has now eclipsed the film industry, was promised tax incentives by Labour before the election, but the plans were cut as part of the 2010 budget by the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat government.

Now, in an interview with the Financial Times, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said that the loss of tax incentives may prompt the publisher to move future projects elsewhere.

"The talent pool in the UK is among the best in the world for what we do," said Kotick. "But we really need to see some more incentives. We are seeing great incentives in Canada, Singapore and eastern bloc countries."

Sony took a similar point of view, with UK boss Ray Maguire saying that while current projects would continue as they were, future projects may be moved overseas to more favourable financial climates.

"The existing plans will continue but any further new developments would have to be looked at," he said. "Maybe something that was planned for the UK would go abroad now."

Not everyone has taken such a dim view though, with Eidos president Ian Livingston saying that it may be time for the UK games industry to approach the topic in a different way. Speaking at the GameHorizon 2010 conference yesterday, Livingstone said he thought that begging for tax breaks smacked of "an industry in need, desperate for handouts" - which is far from the truth.

"Maybe we need to say to Mister Osborne, 'look, my son: this is a $50 billion industry, a $90 billion industry by 2015, we're very good at making games, we want to be successful at it," said Livingstone, according to

"At the moment things are not that rosy here – even though we've got the talent, we've got the ability to create amazing intellectual property. Why don't you think about perhaps setting up a fund? All we need is some more money up front to be on a level playing field'."

"I'm sure it will be possible, because they must surely realise that manufacturing is on the decline, our national services are on the decline – the way out of this mess is the creative industry, the digital economy, us being in the games industry are surely at the forefront of that. They must see that we are the future."

Let us know your thoughts in [url=]the forums[/eurl] - and be sure to check out our 'Made in the UK' series for more information on the UK games industry.
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