Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tax breaks for games

A guest post by Andrew S. Walsh

While this year’s budget was faced with many challenges, one small announcement could be positive news for writers as the government has intimated that a system similar to that offered to the film industry could be on offer to the video games industry.

The Writers’ Guild has taken part in campaigning to encourage the government to introduce such tax breaks and to aid the domestic industry. With production fading in many sectors any boost for the games industry could help offset these problems by maintaining and expanding the opportunities for writers working in games.

The exact details are yet to be announced but the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has indicated that the system is likely to be similar to the one applicable to the UK film industry - meaning that those asking for the tax breaks must score at least 16 points out of a possible 31 in a ‘culturally British’ test.

There are four criteria under which film studios can qualify:

a) Cultural Content (16 pts) – determining whether the film’s narrative is set in the UK, whether its lead characters are British, whether the film is centred on British subject matter, and if the dialogue is recorded “in the English language”.
b) Cultural Contribution (4 pts) – determining whether the film represents “a diverse British culture, British heritage or British creativity”.
c) Cultural Hubs (3 pts) – determining whether the film is produced in the UK studios.
d) Cultural Practitioners (8 pts) – determining whether the cast, crew and/or producers come from the EEA (European Economic Area), with points based on each role.

We await further details and hope that this aid to the industry leads to an expansion of the opportunities for writers comes with it.

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