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Ed Balls is wrong to claim tax credits would have helped RealTime Worlds

By on August 20, 2010
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GamesIndustry.biz is reporting on a speech by Ed Balls, the Labour leader candidate, linking the refusal of the coalition government to implement games tax credits with the demise of RealTime Worlds.

This is so wrong-headed I don’t know where to begin. My first (and pretty furious) response was on the GI.biz comments page:

So let me get this straight. The best funded games company in the UK, which raised over $104 million in private investment AND benefited from R&D tax credits AND generated nearly £20 million in revenue from the development of Crackdown and publisher advances for APB went bust in the face of universal criticism of its unfinished product.

And tax credits would have saved them.

No, no, no. Calls like this from ill-informed and opportunistic MPs only make me even more convinced that tax breaks exist to prop failing dinosaurs of games companies and have no place in Britain’s dynamic future as a games development powerhouse.

For anyone who wants to know about how I think, you should read:

Tadhg Kelly of Simple Forms also offered his opinion:

I hope that the right lessons are learned from the RealTime Worlds failure, not the wrong ones.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • So they received tax credits? I certainly saw some in the accounts. That amplifies my point that more tax relief would not have saved RTW – it would just have meant that the taxpayer lost money as well as the investors.

  • As someone who has been helping RTW with their R&D tax submission they had/have some really innovative developments and a great client to work with. The staff there are really sharp and it is a realy pity what has happend.
    [email protected]

  • Could not agree more. The whole tax break thing has always been a bad idea promoted with wrong arguments.

    And politicians using events like this to score points cheaply is pretty standard, sadly.