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There's a new cultural test to go with the UK game tax breaks
There's a new cultural test to go with the UK game tax breaks
April 1, 2014 | By Mike Rose

April 1, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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    7 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Video game tax breaks have finally been approved for UK developers -- along with a brand new cultural test that you'll need to satisfy to claim state aid.

Nearly a year after tax breaks were meant to be established for video game companies in the UK, the European Commission gave the initiative the go-ahead last week, stating that the relief is "in line with EU state aid rules."

Now the new cultural test that UK devs will need to pass to claim relief has been posted online, and it's changed considerably from the original guidelines that were put forth back in 2012.

The main points are that your game needs to satisfy 16 of a possible 31 points to pass. Points are awarded for setting your game's world in the UK, for example, or having UK residents on your development team.

The full list of points can be found over on the Film Forever website. Interested parties can only apply for interim certification once all the legislation procedures are complete -- for now, you're able to apply using a draft application, and you'll receive a "letter of comfort" if you are approved.


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Comments


Terry Matthes
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I don't understand why you can't simply support the game ideas the British devs have. This list leads me to believe there is a large dissconect between the people handing out the grants and the game industry. I don't believe anyone wants to forceably change the concept or content of their game to get funding. I understand the government want the majority of the people working on a supported game to be British, but injecting Britain directly into the game is so out of touch with the industry its laughable.

Josiah Manson
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If you read the guidelines, as long as the game is made in britain by british residents and dialog is in english, you automatically get 15/16 pts. If you can get one more point, say from "representing british culture and diversity" you pass. I'd say it is almost impossible not to somehow reflect the culture you come from in any work, game or otherwise, so that is at least +1/4 pts, and you win.

Tadhg Kelly
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Because it's been formulated under the same framework as how they part-fund film.

Terry Matthes
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Interesting. They are using rules for one industry to govern another...

Samuel Green
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Like Josiah said, anyone in Britain is probably an automatic pass. The test is probably there to cover any foreign development attempts.

For example, I'm living in China so I'd be the only British employee, making the game in China... but I should still be able to apply for tax breaks if the game is still predominantly 'British'. Culturally the government wants to promote 'Britishness'. The guys in Britain can make whatever they want, but guys outside Britain can still help The Cause by building games that are culturally British.

David Navarro
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In this particular instance, it's fair enough.

Nooh Ha
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The EC has strict rules limiting state aid to specific industries in member states - as the article points out.

What is does not point out is that there is a "cultural exception" to these state aid rules i.e. where a member state is supporting its indigenous culture. Thus for British film and games to qualify for this exception, there needs to be a "cultural" test to ensure that the state aid is being provided within the boundaries of what EC deems to be an indigenous culture. The rules are similar to those for film as those are what the EC are happy with. They are also similar to those employed for the French games tax relief too.


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