Archive for January, 2010
So the whole “give game companies tax breaks” discussion rolls on with Develop reporting that the culture secretary is getting involved. Now my own thoughts on this whole Hollyrood tax raising powers discussion are clouded after a meeting at Hollyrood pre-Xmas where a minister decided to use the event to beg us all to join the independence bandwagon – to paraphrase “we would give you all tax breaks if you give us independence” which I thought was a little tacky and too self-serving.
However I do fear that those crying out for tax breaks haven’t thought things through entirely. Looking at Canada as an example, but the tax incentives have brought the major publishers into the area which is great for the economy. I presume the same would happen here in Scotland if tax incentives are brought in.
Now this is all well and good – it is highly beneficial to have some large companies like Realtime Worlds and Rockstar North in Scotland to provide some movement towards critical mass, however we still have a talent shortage in Scotland and throughout the UK in general. We do get a stready stream of good talent from some academic institutions, but in general finding talent with some level of experience is quite difficult – moreso in Scotland (and Dundee in general).
So the scenario could appear whereby the incentives are present, the big publishers decide to take a look and, ah, what about the talent shortage? The obvious answer is that the smaller game developers in Scotland could lose their staff hand over fist. We can compete against the EA’s and Ubisoft’s of this world by ensuring we don’t treat talent like a production line, but for some people money talks and we can’t compete with the salaries that these guys could pay to get staff on board.
Tax incentives could be a great thing for scottish game devs. It would show that the Scottish Government are taking gaming seriously and have realised that gaming could be one area where Scotland takes the lead and becomes a world leader, however I am not convinced that doing so at the expense of Scotlands own indigenous developers is the best way forwards.