Realtime Worlds Secure Funding, Govt. Challenges Tax Breaks

31 03 2008

Crackdown

Dundee based Realtime Worlds have secured a third round of venture finance, totaling around £25M. There’s not much to say beyond “congratulations”, however…

Realtime were founded by David Jones, designer of both Lemmings and the Grand Theft Auto series. We have some absolutely stunning talent over here in the UK, but it won’t matter so much if the business climate keeps on becoming more severe.

With the Byron review coming down so much in favor of games and common sense, one big uncertainty facing the games industry is largely settling. It seems like a good time for developers here to campaign for a better deal, especially as the DCMS have given a first twitch on challenging Canadian tax breaks. However, with the EU approving tax breaks for French developers, and the following quote, the DCMS current line of UK tax breaks potentially being illegal and the Canadian ones likewise, is not looking promising:

Guillaume de Fondaumière head of trade association APOM which serves developers in France, says the move is a mistake.

He recently posted here on the Develop site that France’s own investigations already found that “Canada’s tax breaks are more or less aligned with WTO policies”.

He said: “APOM and French government services had looked a few years ago at the opportunity to challenge Canada’s incentives with WTO. Our conclusion was such a challenge would lead nowhere.”

Instead, he recommended: “The UK should rather join forces with the France (which made the first move in the ‘tax break direction’ a few weeks ago) as well as other Euro countries understanding the imperial need to save a key industry and convince the European Commission to widen its horizon on the subject and allow all games to benefit from tax credits and other incentive.”

TIGA, under new CEO Richard Wilson, are talking about improving their game too:

“My vision statement for Tiga is two-fold. Firstly, to lobby UK, European Union and regional governments to create an environment in which developers in this country can prosper. And secondly to establish best practices so developers can rely on themselves to enhance their competitiveness. There are a lot of trade associations in the UK and they very in quality – I want Tiga to be one that adds real practical value for its membership.”

It’s an issue the UK has faced before: The need to turn world class game development studios into world class businesses.

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