Who Killed Videogaming Tax Relief?

By John Walker on June 25th, 2010 at 4:03 pm.

This is my mature approach.

Yesterday afternoon a bold story appeared on Develop’s site, stating that there was far more to the abandoning of videogame tax relief in this week’s UK budget. It was not, they say, a case of the treasury overturning the decision, but rather the influence of an unnamed “global publisher” who “sabotaged [the] UK games tax break.” Obviously this story has received quite a lot of attention, especially with people guessing who this major publisher might be. But major industry figures give the impression that it might be no publisher at all.

Develop’s story was unambiguous, beyond their shyness in revealing which publisher they were talking about.

“One of the biggest game companies in the world exerted pressure on the UK government and British trade associations to abandon plans for UK tax breaks, Develop can reveal. While the majority of UK studios lobbied tirelessly to attain tax relief, one publisher counterbalanced the bid with a scandalous assertion of its own international influence and power.”

However, what this pressure was, and how it was in their interests to exert such pressure, was not made clear. Develop said they had spoken to TIGA, the industry body representing games development who have spent two years campaigning for the tax relief:

Today TIGA, the UK trade association widely applauded for spearheading Britain’s push for game tax breaks, called for cross-industry unanimity on the issue.

“TIGA has campaigned rigorously for two years for Games Tax Relief,” CEO Richard Wilson told Develop.

He appealed to overseas companies, stating that they could tap into the huge talent base in the UK that would no doubt be bolstered by tax relief measures.
“We will not give up,” he added, “and we ask publishers to join us.”

By this morning Games Industry.biz were reporting that ELSPA were not interested in a witch hunt to identify the publisher, and found it unlikely to be the reason behind the move. ELSPA chief Michael Rawlinson told GI:

“We have no idea where that has come from, it’s totally left of field and has certainly not been on the agenda of any of the many political briefings we’ve been involved in. That’s not to say it’s not true, but we’ve been discussing tax relief for some time, and lobbying solidly. It’s something we haven’t come across.”

This afternoon GI’s Alexi Meere (or something) has been doing some more digging, and it seems that the decision was increasingly unlikely to be based on publisher interference at all. Speaking to TIGA’s Richard Wilson themselves, the news boffins site reports the boss man has no idea if there was pressure from any publishers, but he think it not likely to be the reason behind the decision.

“It’s the usual thing, the treasury are the people we have to convince. I think the key people in the government who need to be convinced are definitely George [Osborne], and also I think David Gauke, the exchequer secretary, who is probably fairly invisible actually, externally. But he is a very, very important man.”

In defiant mood Wilson continued his tireless campaign to see these tax breaks come in, even after the current setback. Batting away the notion of publisher interference he comments,

“The truth of the matter is we don’t know. What I would say is the key thing is, rather than to look for any scapegoat in the industry at home or aboard, for Machiavellian machinations going on in the background, to focus on the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats. They both promised before the election they would give us games tax relief. We want them to honour that commitment.

Even if there is [industry sabotage], and we don’t know, or has been a publisher arguing against games tax relief, they’re not going to win. We’ve won the argument. We’re going to continue with the arguments, and we are going to get it established.”

ELSPA’s Rawlinson is similar piqued by the recent developments, adding his suspicions that there were never any intentions of bringing in the relief in the first place.

“The government went from seeing a lack of conviction for tax relief to seeing the games industry as the best thing since sliced bread last March, and I’m not sure the arguments for tax breaks were any more convincing, there was just more lobbying. I think it was a cynical move by a government that wouldn’t have had to deal with the consequences following the election.”

Whether there is any evidence behind Develop’s extremely bold claims remains to be seen. The conviction with which they present their statements is pretty overwhelming, but they’ve done so without any form of evidence, nor any understandable motivation beyond the suggestion that it would somehow be unfair for Britain to receive such benefits. (But presumably not France, Canada or Australia.) We’ll keep an eye on the story.

EDIT: Revolution’s Uncle Charles Cecil has weighed in, leaving a comment on Develop’s site in which he suggests there may be some truth to the suggestions of lobbying against the tax relief from overseas publishers:

“In March I was invited to an event at the House of Commons – this was just before Labour made their commitment. There I met a number of MPs with an interest in the sector. I was told that they were getting mixed messages from the industry: that foreign owned publisher / publishers were lobbying hard against the tax break because they were concerned about the cultural test. Without a uniform voice, we were, I was told, highly unlikely to get a tax break. So essentially, this story is accurate.

My opinion is that the opportunity for tax breaks was realistically lost once the banking crisis struck. Gordon Brown had a long reign of apparent prosperity before things turned sour – he had plenty of opportunity to introduce the initiative without too much risk of controversy.”

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97 Comments »

  1. Steelfists says:

    But who? And what motivates them? The motivation is the key. What is the “cultural test” Cecil mentioned?

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      The games made would have to be “Culturally British”.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Are all people in Britain paranoid about losing their culture or is it just politicians?

    • Sobric says:

      I can only speak for my self and not the whole of Britain but no, no worries at all. Don’t let those that represent us in a representation system fool you into thinking that they represent our views in some way! Represent!

    • Ravenger says:

      Culturally British doesn’t mean the games would have to be set in Britain or have to have British centric stories. If they did they would score higher, but as long as the development team is British they would still have qualified for tax breaks – if the breaks had been implemented that is.

      Take a look at the equivalent film tax breaks cultural test criteria, as the games ones would have been very similar: http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/culturaltestpoints

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think there is and should be concern about us losing British culture. My flatmate pronounces a lot of words with an American accent. 99% of shows watched by my friends are American, in fact very little of the media they consume is English.

      I don’t want to come accross as saying BAN FOREIGN THINGS! I simply mean it is good to encourage ‘British’ things. As long as they takes into account how varied British culture is.

    • perilisk says:

      But without British accents, how will we Americans know who the villains are in our movies?

      Don’t wanna be a dick or nothin but doesn’t everyone working in or relying on every industry feel it’s particularly important that their industry gets tax relief? If taxes are too high, bring them down for everyone. Carving out special exemptions just hyper-politicizes what should be a straightforward revenue-collection process.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Cultural test? Making culturally british games? What – the – fuck? Since when does anyone make culturally whatever games!? WHY SHOULD IT MATTER?

    • Internet guy says:

      Tea & crumpets consumables in every new game

    • Manley Pointer says:

      The first Star Wars was culturally British enough to get tax breaks, wasn’t it? Many parts of it were shot on British sets at Surrey and Hertfordshire, they employed many British people on the crew, and Fox did all that to qualify for UK tax breaks (as the budget for the first Star Wars film wasn’t exactly unlimited). Yet when most people watch the end result, they notice a few British actors (Guinness and Cushing) but don’t think of it as a particularly British film. If game tax breaks worked like film ones, I would imagine “culturally British,” in practice, meaning made in the UK employing some English citizens, and not much more than that.

    • TeeJay says:

      “Cultural” isn’t the most accurate summary.

      For films you pick up “points” for:

      1) the location of filming, special effects, music, audio and post production studios and the nationality of the director, scriptwriter, producer, composer, actors and crew members.
      2) the story has a british connection or the underlying script or IP is written by a Brit or UK resident
      3) the original dialogue is recorded in English (or Welsh / Irish / Scots etc) – accents aren’t mentioned

      4) being set in a real or fictional UK
      5) any of the main fictional characters being british
      6) a few points for some slightly vague stuff about “creative approach to culture”, “historical events” and “diversity” (eg under-represented groups.

      So it it possible to get *loads* of so-called “cultural” points just by using uk-based developers and creative input and using english regardless of the actual game content.

      As for content, something like NOLF, Tomb Raider or most CoD games would get lots of points for British characters and Total War games or others with historical settings would get points for “heritage”. A game with a disabled character might get points for “diversity” – and so forth.

      This isn’t about Morris Dancing simulators.

    • TeeJay says:

      Just to add, I think the reason they have a “cultural test” is so that the support for UK movie-making isn’t exploited by foreign productions simply re-locating their entire cast / crew / etc to the UK for a few weeks to use the tax breaks but otherwise not really having a connection to the UK.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I would like a Morris Dancing simulator if it was called Morris Kombat and had extreme violence. To get the kids into it you see.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I’d actually love to see some overtly British games. Most high-profile British-produced releases tend to be set in the US (/horrid generalisation), although I suppose you could call the GTA series overtly British in that it satirises a lot of uniquely American cultural oddities.

    • Revias says:

      Culturally British?

      BUT BRITAIN IS FUCKING MULTICULTURAL!

  2. tapanister says:

    It’s Activision and we all know it!

  3. Dc Jenton says:

    If it is a publisher after all, I have a feeling it could be Activision.

  4. gabanski83 says:

    Ubisoft? The French already breaks, and it’s not that far away to entice any upcoming British developers.

    Not sure I like the idea of the government listening to suggestions from overseas companies, though.

    • Xercies says:

      You might not like it but it happens all the time, Digital economy Bill? That was because of a suggestion from an overseas company schmoozing with some of our politicians. I’m actually sure a lot of things put in and out of our country are because of suggestions from other companies but we do have a secrecy thing so we may never know.

  5. Sobric says:

    Perhaps a timely conspiracy for Deus Ex’s anniversary; I can’t really see anything behind this more than 1) Games Tax breaks were a simple part of Britain’s collective belt-tightening or 2) The tax breaks were never a serious part of The Cleggeron’s agenda in the first place.

    Industry specific tax-breaks always seemed like the most likely target of the cuts. But, as Cliffski noted in the last thread on this, the reduction in Corp. Tax should be a blanket benefit to small companies (as it will to large companies), which includes games developers. Better than nothing.

  6. Sjors says:

    No, Savage.

    • Sobric says:

      ahhh reply fail :-(

      joke-line broken.

    • Sjors says:

      Yea, no idea why the reply doesn’t seem to work sometimes… Bah, humbug

    • Sjors says:

      PS. And of course not being able to edit/delete a post doesn’t help either

    • DrGonzo says:

      You can edit if you browse to your post in the forums.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      @DrGonzo,
      Not presently, as the front page stories (and subsequent comment threads) are no being replicated in the forums. Got the following email from John when I queried it a week or so ago:

      “I believe we’ve turned that feature off for the moment.
      Please feel free to create threads for any posts you find interesting!”

  7. TheJimTimMan says:

    What a shame.

  8. Gundrea says:

    My money’s on Aquinas behind all this.

  9. DMcCool says:

    Its hard not to believe the likes of Ubisoft and Activision are behind this, isn’t it? Well even if this lobbying wasn’t the main cause (honestly, the Conservatives don’t need and provocation for a move like this) its still pretty despicable behavoir from whoever the guilty publishers are. Buisness is buisness, I guess.

  10. Count Elmdor says:

    So publishers would be against it because to qualify, developers would need to make the games “culturally British?”

    Fuck the publishers, and fuck their Midas-of-Homogenization touch.

  11. Tei says:

    I don’t think UK invented the videogame culture, but has a special relation to it. One that is industrial, social, economic. Lossing grip on it could be losing it to USA or any other country. That will be bad. Is the industries that have root in a country that are important. Because these are the ones that can make a difference.
    What a shame.

  12. DMJ says:

    Hmm. British studios campaign for tax breaks. International (ie. not British) publisher makes it quietly known that it does not wish for this to happen. It doesn’t come to pass.

    What is the Government doing listening to foreign companies when it comes to deciding whether or not to help British organisations?

    • Tei says:

      best case scenario: these organisations have jobs in UK, and use these as hostages.

    • TeeJay says:

      Maybe the argument was along the lines of:

      /devil’s advocate: “it might look like it benefits UK developers, but it will lead to less internationally competitive games and will get in the way of moving work around globally to different studios of freely hiring and firing people. The UK government shouldn’t start ‘picking winners’ or being ‘protectionist’ because this will be used against UK companies trying to do bsuiness overseas” /devil’s advocate

  13. Osborne says:

    Its Ubisoft! The French are Britian’s natural enemies. Those uppity frogs on the continent are always trying to replace a king or influence the gaming industry. At least if you disregard the two world wars. Those were just hiccups.

  14. Alexander Norris says:

    Presumably, this is someone who doesn’t want the brain drain of talented UK developers to countries that have game studios in them (because they have tax breaks, and therefore the big companies are there) to stop.

    Thought it really begs the question: why? It’s awfully short-sighted of them to veto these tax breaks. Surely, having more countries in which they can set up studios for cheap is a good thing. The only answer I can think of is that they’re so terrified of a resurgence of bedroom coders and the values associated with them that they just had to block this, but that’s stupid.

  15. The Colonel says:

    smash the state!

  16. terry says:

    “I want a straight yes or no answer. Is this rumour true?”

    “Yes.”

    “So it is true?”

    “It is true that it is a rumour.”

    • RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

      @Terry Absolutely positively it might be a rumor.

  17. ascagnel says:

    Do process of elimination: which publishers don’t have studios in the UK? EA has Criterion, MS has Lionhead, Take2/2K has Rockstar, Sony has SCEE Liverpool & SCEE Cambridge, and Codemasters is British.

    The only big names left I can think of are Activision and Ubisoft, with possibly THQ in that mix. THQ and Ubi haven’t done anything to dick over other publishers, but Activision has tried to dick over EA in the past with Brutal Legend.

    My money is on Activision doing this.

    • MartinX says:

      Bizarre creations who made the recently released “blur”, and Freestylegames, who made “DJ Hero” are both UK based and are both owned by Activision.

    • TeeJay says:

      /joke

      “If in doubt, blame the French”

      /joke

    • TeeJay says:

      Activision is an American video game developer and publisher, majority owned by French conglomerate Vivendi SA

      Ubisoft Entertainment S.A. is a French computer and video game publisher and developer … with headquarters in Montreuil-sous-Bois, France.

  18. Taillefer says:

    “I was told that they were getting mixed messages from the industry: that foreign owned publisher / publishers were lobbying hard against the tax break because they were concerned about the cultural test. Without a uniform voice, we were, I was told, highly unlikely to get a tax break.”

    It’s a bit odd to write something up that has the single purpose of being biased towards a single country/culture, but expect a uniform response from a global industry. Being favourable to some companies over others was the whole point!

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The point is that a lot of other places already have tax breaks for video games, so the “unfair competition” thing is absolute bullshit.

  19. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Im going with EA on this one.
    This is a much more interesting conspiracy than that arg one.

  20. kwyjibo says:

    There’s no publisher blocking this.

    This is a clever Whitehall communications guy deflecting industry eyes. These guys know how to leak, in the same way that Apple don’t.

    • john says:

      DING DING DING! we have a winner.

      I know this a computer games site but such naivete is quite adorable. This is some clever damage limitation, nothing more nothing less, there’s no evil publisher behind it.

      Certainly some publishers may have been against tax breaks that include a cultural test, but obviously their preference would be tax breaks without a cultural test, not no tax breaks at all.

  21. Lukasz says:

    I so hope it is Activision. It will be like icing on the cake. If it is EA then i will be sad because i hoped they change their evil ways, if ubisoft then i wouldn’t care, they are just bunch of idiots, if THQ then i will be surprised as I am not aware of any scandals with them…

    Please it be activision.

  22. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Old men are the future :(

  23. USAUSAUSAUSA says:

    Can’t wait for British charm in American studios

  24. YogSo says:

    It was Activision in the Kitchen with the Candlestick.

  25. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    british people killed it

  26. Alan Twelve says:

    DrGonzo

    You are aware, I hope, that English and British are not the same thing..?

  27. Bhazor says:

    I’m sorry but if you’ve got no named sources? “Broke” by a journalist I’ve never heard of on a website I’ve never heard of? No documents? No investigation? No corroboration? Then its no sale. I mean I understand that video game journalism is young and naive but The Onion takes better care with its sources than this.

    Also just because there is comment from a user called Charles Cecil on your article does not mean Charles Cecil commented on your article. Certainly doing so would be one hell of a petty way to break your government enforced NDA.

    • RobF says:

      Develop is the development news related wing of MCV. It’s not exactly an underground site that needs to claw for hits and they’d certainly have the industry contacts.

      Whilst I doubt that the story is the -only- reason that tax breaks got kicked to the kerb, it’s certainly plausible given what we already know about how companies lobby the government.

      Not everyone is going to necessarily follow the Tiga/Elspa industry line.

  28. Frank says:

    I’m hoping it’s Activision. Ubisoft seem like good folk, and I don’t want that seemingness to change

    • Thants says:

      Ubisoft don’t really seem like good folk after the whole control-freak DRM thing.

    • Web Cole says:

      I’m sorry, Ubisoft did what where now?

    • John says:

      I doubt it would be Ubisoft since they’re a French company and France has similar tax breaks with similar criteria.

      If Develop’s story is true, and the concern about the cultural test is true, we’d probably be looking for a non-British publisher that has British developers make games that are not about Britain or British culture.

      So, you know, could be anyone.

  29. Jacques says:

    Indeed, English refers to people from England, while British encompasses England, Scotland and Northern Ireland + some little bits here and there (Australia isn’t technically British is it, I know they have respect for the queen, but…). Thus British is English 1/3 of the time, though I think Irish people denote themselves as Irish more often than British and Scottish people well, Scottish.

    When speaking with a fake accent: A British accent covers at least 3 different accents, so you don’t have to be solidly in one accent the whole time. It also helps to have a Monocle and a thick mustache, though the former only really works for English British.

    Granted, Celtic, Saxon and Norman (French) parts play into the British Culture and the English culture at similar degrees, or at least more similar than the rest of the British areas.

    This said, I’m an American (United States-ian) and might not know what the hell I’m talking about. Also, I’m not trying to purposely further nitpick, I’m just sort of bored so it’s more haphazard nitpicking

    • cjlr says:

      Well, English = from England, true, but British only means someone from Britain (that big island, with England and Scotland on it), but fairly freqeuently English is taken to mean British and British is taken to mean from the United Kingdom (since there is no actual word for the latter). Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands are kinda ambiguous…

      Not sure where Australian comes into it; though they are of course in personal union under Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, being a Commonwealth realm and all…

    • Thermal Ions says:

      Member of the commonwealth yes, but don’t go trying to call us British or English, or there’ll be no more prawns on bbq for you.

    • TheApologist says:

      Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom is ‘kind of ambiguous’?

      Being from good ol’ NI, I tended to say British, which in everyday use I think tends to mean ‘from the UK’, until I moved to England where I now tend to say Irish.

      I have no idea why. I guess you could call that ambiguous.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      Haha Wales. No one likes you.

    • Wulf says:

      @Fullpig

      Aaaactually… considering that the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish all have a word that essentially means farkin’ saxons, one would think that the reverse is true. That everyone hates England. And when I encounter people who’re hateful of British people online, it often doesn’t take long to dig out the truth, that it’s the English that they despise.

      Really, the English aren’t very popular with anyone, and the world considers them a bunch of sour, dour old basts who’re miserable about everything. :p There’s a lot of confusion in the world regarding England and Britain, and I’m always happy to clear that up, because usually people have nothing specific at all against Wales (or Ireland, or Scotland).

      If there’s anyone that’s not liked, it’s the English. The Welsh are endearing at least for their love of sheep. >.>

    • Wulf says:

      For those curious: The complaint I hear the most from non-British types (mostly Americans) is that English people need to get over themselves, smug, arrogant, self-entitled and pseudo-intellectually superior, they think they’re better than everyone else, and they tend to put people down in games based on their country of origin.

    • cjlr says:

      Northern Ireland’s status as falling under the word “British” is kind of ambiguous, yes. As far as I can tell. I am Canadian, after all. Depends whether you’re using British as in from the island of Great Britain, or British as in of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

      Welsh is a subset of English, though, innit? Legally? Though from what I gather they’re part of England the same way Quebec is part of Canada – angrily and obstinately.

    • GetOutOfHereStalker says:

      the irish are only british when they want welfare

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Wulf “considering that the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish all have a word that essentially means farkin’ saxons, one would think that the reverse is true.”

      I think maybe you missed the Fullpig’s point – that when Jacques stated “British encompasses England, Scotland and Northern Ireland + some little bits here and there” he completely missed out Wales. Then cjlr said “Britain (that big island, with England and Scotland on it)” – again no mention of Wales.

      As for your more general observations, having travelled to maybe 50-odd countries in 4 continents I haven’t witnessed this general hatred of people from England you talk about. The most famous English people are typically sports-people, musicians or actors so hardly that “miserable” (ok so there’s morissy etc but still).

      Plenty of people have a problem with ‘highbrow’-posh / ‘lowbrow’-chav etc even within their own cultures, no doubt accents (northern-southern-american-british) just add to people’s perceptions without giving a very profound insight into anything. My experience is that once people have actually spent some time together they can get over these initial impressions very quickly.

      The highest levels of “anti-English” feelings are within the UK itself and linked to UK politics/history – or in very specific holiday destinations (where typically it’s just ‘Brits’ anyway), but there are actually more places where this isn’t true and a vast number of people who have worked, visited or studied in the UK or met Brits/English in positive contexts.

    • Antsy says:

      @ cjlr

      No. NO NO NO NO NO. No.

  30. Antsy says:

    Good grief.

    Here it is for you, plain and simple.

    English = English
    British = a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island (this includes Scots and the Welsh).

    Calling a Scot or a Welshman English is as acceptable as strolling around Louisiana calling everyone a Yankee. Englishmen don’t like being called Scottish, Welsh or Irish but since no-one ever does its not really a problem.

    When Americans refer to a British accent I find that they’re generally identifying Queen’s English.

  31. Jimbo says:

    This was just about the easiest cut on the list. Their may or may not have been opposition from within the industry, but I doubt it made any difference even if there was. This was doomed the minute Labour announced it right before an election they were destined to lose.

    • Krimson says:

      But before the elections, both Conservatives and Liberals pledged support for the tax break, despite the fact that at this point, everyone knew a budget reformation was going to happen. This has nothing to do with Labour announcing the tax break during their death throes, and everything to do with the current Frankenstein’s monster of a government going back on their promise.

    • TeeJay says:

      It isn’t really the best time politically-speaking to do this. Even if politicians believe in something they might decide that they don’t want to spend their limited media face-time defending a tax-break that their enemies can so easily misrepresent.

      The last thing I’d want to see is videogames being dragged directly into a party-political slagging match about cutting benefits to pregnant women or the impact of VAT on poor people. Maybe it’s better to wait till next year’s budget or announce it alongside a wider package of business-related measures, for example when they get round to announcing a new policy on new technology / clean energy / high-speed broadband etc.

  32. Sparky says:

    Why should this particular big business get special tax breaks while people on low incomes are going to see their social security withdrawn or cut, their taxes go up and vital services slashed?

  33. Spacegirl says:

    It was quite possibly the freedom fighters from Terminator’s (our) future fighting against Skynet from the future into the past which is our present! I’ll explain it!!

    It’s probable that, given liberal tax breaks, the english game industry would saturate the world with a bunch of obtuse adventure games featuring flatulence, absurdity, high levels of foppiness, mild culturalism against other UKers and anachronisticly lit cobblestone streets.

    These games would of course become wildly popular and the UK economy would thus enjoy a massive Super Surge. Germany will then decide to get in on the action, and they make a game about fighting back against oppressive state-controlled robots. The series becomes massively popular and there’s a quest to create the best deathmatch A.I. and a TOY LINE of SINISTER LOOKING ROBO DOLLS and you see where this is going….

    So, we can thank John Connor for saving us again!!

  34. Pleonasm says:

    I think it was Edge Games. Curse you Langdell!

  35. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    video game tax relief was stillborn (just like me)

  36. Pew says:

    ‘Twas radio killed the videogame stars.

  37. Frye says:

    The english entertainment industry should stop moaning! Times have changed besides we’re in a crisis. The rest of the world just cares a lot less about english culture nowadays.

    Ever since the 70′s it was American and English culture dominating the charts / air time. Obviously because they made better music / TV / movies than the rest of the world. That has changed in recent years. Over here in the Netherlands there is WAAAY more homegrown music and TV than, say, a decade ago. Similarly a few of my swedish friends really only listen to local (rock) bands. Basically, ‘foreigners’ have learnt how to make quality stuff aswell. I have heard great french, german and dutch music the past few years. That was unheard of in the 80′s/90′s! How about those wonderful games coming from eastern europe. What the world audiences are craving is sincerity, something missing from MTV. And locals are filling the gaps. Heck, even over here we can make quality games. (Killzone2 etc). The entertainment industries ARE NOT SUFFERING! Just the english and american ones. They should learn to live with it and stop blaming pirates. A dutch judge will never ever lock up a kid for downloading a few Radiohead b-sides that he has no other way of getting but piracy. All because the industry can’t do what Napster did 13 years ago. (this last sentence was an actual quote by a judge).

    • bill says:

      er. wouldn’t that be why they need this more now than they did in the past?

  38. cliffski says:

    I think the best move would be for us to put pressure on other governments to NOT subsidise their games industries.
    Subsidies are very inefficient, in economic terms.
    games are being used as a political football, by people who know they let the US take over in the movie world, and dont want them to do the same in games.

    • jalf says:

      Subsidies have had a *huge* effect in a lot of other areas.

      Methinks this is just your poltiical preconceptions speaking. :)

    • cliffski says:

      Not at all. I agree subsidies can have a big effect, They can encourage the production of stuff nobody wants. Thats the whole point of subsidies. They exist where the free market fails.
      I’m all for subsidies for important stuff, like cheap food for the poor, or whatever, but video games?
      Gimme a break.
      I’d rather we just let the free market decide what games are good or bad, because anyway you cut it, this is men in suits who do not play games trying to skew the market. That’s bad. Good games should do well, and bad games should flop. it shouldn’t matter who you know, and who you play golf with, which is how government subsidies always end up working.

    • le poo poo says:

      the free market can s my d

  39. bill says:

    A publisher opposing this seems to make zero sense at all, and be very short-sighted.
    So it might well be true.

    But it makes no sense. A publisher without studios here would be barely affected and it wouldn’t be worth lobbying about, and they might acquire a studio in the future, and they wouldn’t have clout here anyway. A publisher with even one studio here would like the benefits, or any studio who might ever buy a studio here.

    And even if they don’t have a studio here, getting tax breaks in one country is likely to encourage other countries to respond… which would be good for them in the long term.

    Idea makes zero sense.

  40. Latterman says:

    It’s Valve. It has to be.

  41. Jacques says:

    I knew as soon as I walked away from the computer I was gonna catch some flak for forgetting Wales, I’m sorry, I just think of large sea mammals when I hear the word without a king, queen, princess or prince attached to the term. That said when people hear my name they often think of large sea animals, well, if they’re old enough, if not they argue about how to pronounce the ‘ques’ in which the es is actually silent, to the disbelief of some hundreds of people I’ve met.