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GAMESbrief readers: come, make the UK videogame tax breaks work

By on February 25, 2013
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The British Film Institute has just advertised two vacancies for the glamorously named Certification Analyst (Video Games).

What they mean is that they need to two people to assess applications for the soon-to-be-implemented tax breaks for the video game industry, with a particular focus on the Cultural test that is necessary to avoid state aid restrictions under EU rules.

Readers of the blog will know that I was opposed to tax breaks because I fear that they are likely to be better suited to projects from the old world (single point of purchase, long development time, short release window) rather than the new one (games-as-a-service, iterative development, long lifetime, evolving business models). I fear that the new model is hard to shoehorn into a tax break scheme drawn heavily from the film industry, and the tax credits risk making the UK a nation of failing work-for-hire developers rather than one of innovative, creative entrepreneurs.


So here is your chance to prove me wrong. If you read GAMESbrief and want a stable secure job (£27k-£32k and a final salary pension scheme, 6 weeks paid holiday a year), you could consider applying. Getting the right people into this role is our best chance of ensuring that the UK games industry doesn’t become a ossified dinosaur, bemoaning the days when we really did punch above our weight on a global stage.

If you “have a degree or relevant industry experience with solid numerical and statistical skills and an awareness of the British Video Games certification and tax relief process and its value to the Video Games industry and wider economy, as well as a proven ability to analyse, interpret and extrapolate information from Video Games supporting documents including but not limited to budgets, and legal agreements,” check out the application for the BFI Certification Analyst and apply.

Let’s make sure that Britain is a games powerhouse of the 21st century, not a fading hero of the 20th.

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:
  • Sik

    Personally, I’d prefer if the ones in charge didn’t really bother with the business model, and just checked the resources of the company applying (i.e. small companies probably could use some help from tax breaks, but big companies definitely can pay the full taxes without problem). Especially true because business models (or even “submodels”) can change really quickly but governments lag behind a lot in support for new things. Also because somebody could come up with a new idea that isn’t proven at all – we can’t tell if it’s going to flop or end up becoming the next F2P.

    I already told you on Twitter about that guy who applied his start-up for some benefits (which both included a bit of funding and a large period of tax breaks). He waited one year before getting a response back, and when he did, it was “we don’t like your business model, you have ten days to change it to a F2P Facebook social game”. Besides that adapting a pay-once game to F2P in 10 days properly is near impossible, this comes in a time where gaming focus is moving away from Facebook and into mobile, at that. And I think I’m better off not asking about the details of what they wanted, I wouldn’t be surprised if they expected Zynga-like manipulation…