UK game industry prepares for tax relief
With tax breaks for video game developers on the way in the UK
, the Government has stated that studios will have to pass a cultural test to show that they deserve to receive the relief.
Now industry trade body UKIE has stepped in to offer its suggestions as to how this cultural test can be best applied to the UK's video games industry.
The cultural test is marked out of 30 maximum points, and asks studios questions such as whether their games contain British cultural elements, or whether employees at studios are British.
In particular, UKIE is keen to stress that the tax breaks should be made available to all parts of the games industry, from small indie studios to the larger multi-national companies.
The test should aim to reflect all aspects of how games are made in the UK today, recognizing everything from coding to artistic skillsets as important parts of the development process. One person will often take several key roles in a smaller company, said the trade body, and these studios should not be penalized for this.
UKIE's overall message for the Government, as backed up by UK trade association TIGA, is that the cultural test for these tax breaks should be in line with that of the UK film industry. For example, the games industry cultural test currently has a maximum allocation of 30 points, compared to the film industry's 31. UKIE argues that both are as important as each other, and should be made equal.
In the same vein, just two points out of these possible 30 are allocated to studios that are making games in the English language. UKIE says that four points should be allocated in this instance, putting it level again with the film industry's cultural test.
Dr Jo Twist, CEO at UKIE, noted, "The need to qualify as a cultural product is necessary if we want to get an efficient UK tax production credit scheme working as quickly as possible."
"These questions and this crucial test are so important to get right, so that we can make the UK the best place to make games and interactive entertainment."