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Rebellion CEO: Canada's Tax Breaks Drive Slow UK Brain Drain

Rebellion CEO: Canada's Tax Breaks Drive Slow UK Brain Drain

September 7, 2010 | By Staff

September 7, 2010 | By Staff
More: Console/PC

As the UK's game industry continues to lobby its government to reconsider tax breaks for game developers, Canada's enticing incentives are indeed impacting local studios, says Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley in a new Gamasutra feature.

But the migration isn't happening immediately -- it's taking place in a slow drain as UK companies slowly and quietly shift over to Canada, he explains.

Though he declined to name specific studios, the CEO of the 19-year independent game developer says some UK companies are "slowly draining the life out of their domestic business through a slow transition, rather than suddenly pulling up stakes and moving across the Atlantic."

Kingsley described a gradual transition wherein a large share of recruiting is transitioning over to the Canadian branches of UK companies. "When people leave the UK, management doesn't bother to fill those particular spots," he points out. "As a result, developers are slowly moving their center of gravity over to Canada without anybody noticing."

"All of a sudden, the company's CEO starts spending more and more time in Canada. It's just a gentle way of moving without packing up in the darkness of night and heading west."

Kingsley says Rebellion is sustaining through increasing adoption of an outsourcing model "in order to switch production on or off as needed without having to add to or trim our staff." In fact, the company has made staff cuts earlier this year, closed its Derby satellite studio, and has not been actively recruiting recently.

But Kingsley says that might change soon -- given the struggles of other local studios, as with the recent closure of Realtime Worlds, there are many talented employees out of work and hoping to stay in the UK that Rebellion would like to hire.

The CEO takes a moderate stance on the tax breaks; although he says his studio "would have enjoyed them immensely," there's little option now but to "get on with running our ruddy businesses and make them successful as best we can."

The full Gamasutra feature goes in-depth on the state of the UK industry, the tax breaks issue, and competition in the global marketplace.

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