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Report: Ireland May Lure Scotland's Game Industry With Tax Breaks

Report: Ireland May Lure Scotland's Game Industry With Tax Breaks

September 28, 2009 | By Kris Graft

September 28, 2009 | By Kris Graft
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In an initiative to help jumpstart the local economy, the Irish government may try to attract Scottish game developers, such as APB and Crackdown dev Realtime Worlds, with five-year tax holidays, Herald Scotland reported this weekend.

In light of the possible tax breaks, Realtime Worlds, which employs 300 people and is readying the launch of the anticipated MMO APB (All Points Bulletin), said moving out of its Dundee, Scotland home is not out of the question.

"If the package on offer in Ireland was attractive we'd have to give it serious consideration," said Realtime Worlds studio manager Colin Macdonald. "Dundee is a great place to be based, one of the main hubs for computer games in Britain, but at the end of the day we've got to look after our bottom line."

Scotland is also home to Crackdown 2 developer Ruffian, multiplatform game developer Denki, and Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar North, among others such as Dynamo Games, Firebrand Games, and Outerlight. Herald Scotland said the Scottish games industry employs a total of 700 workers and generates 50 million annually.

Tiga, the UK trade body for game developers, urged the Scottish Parliament's support for a 20 percent tax break for game developers earlier this year. Macdonald said the Scottish government has taken some steps to support the growing games industry, but it's still not enough.

He said, "This sector is growing at a pace outstripping most traditional industries and Scotland is ideally placed to punch above its weight in seizing the new opportunities with its world-leading capability, from the larger studios producing games which have grossed billions of dollars to the cumulative synergy of countless smaller outlets."

Macdonald also said that Canada lured some key talent away from Realtime Worlds. Canada has strong tax incentives that have proved appealing to video game developers. "Ireland is a lot closer to home than Canada, so Scottish policy-makers should regard it as a potentially serious threat," he added.

A rep for the Scottish government said it does what it can to support the games industry, but claimed it can't do much more. "Our view is that Scotland should have control of key fiscal levers in order to do more," the rep said. "This is a clear example of the need for radical change which at least provides full fiscal autonomy for Scotland."

"Until we have those powers we'll continue to make the UK government aware of the implications for the Scottish gaming industry. We'll also work with the industry to provide evidence of the impact."

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