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167 games received tax relief from UK Government last year

Number of games utilising UK tax support jumps 117 percent

The UK Government awarded tax relief to 167 video games between October 2015 and September 2016, the latest report from the BFI has found.

That number is 117 percent up over the same period a year before. These games had a combined total budget of £350.2m ($436.3m/€395m), which is a rise of 933 per cent. However, only money spent with the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA) was eligible for tax relief. That figure sat at the slightly lower £253.1m ($316m/€285.2m), a still significant rise of 686 percent compared with the same period a year before.

There's also been a jump in the 'Interim Certificates', which are games that have applied for tax relief, been approved, but have yet to exit production. 170 games currently have these certificates, a rise of 50 per cent over the same October to September period a year prior. These games have a combined budget of £506.2m ($632m/€571m), with £436.7m ($545.2m/€492.4m) being spent within the UK and the wider EEA.

The rapid increase in games receiving tax relief looks set to continue. For the first 9 months of 2016, 128 games alone received final certification versus 77 the year before.

The Video Games Tax Relief came into effect in April 2014 and offers games developers 20 percent return on their costs, as long as they pass a 'cultural test'.

"These stats clearly show what a huge boost the Video Games Tax Relief is to the UK games sector," said Dr Jo Twist, CEO of UK games industry trade body UKIE.

"The incredible year-on-year increase in certifications proves that the support has become a critical driver for growth in the industry, and we are pleased to see the variety of budgets from big to small benefiting. This is a clear signal to government that the continuation of the Video Games Tax Relief in a post-referendum world is critical to our sector in order to remain competitive globally."

Jason Kingsley, Chair of UK games development body TIGA and co-founder at developer Rebellion, added: "The games industry is a UK success story to be proud of - famed the world over for the craft, originality and skill on show. What's more, with VR becoming mainstream for the first time, the UK's games developers are treading entirely new ground, and Video Games Tax Relief is playing an invaluable role in buttressing that creativity, enabling developers both big and small to viably explore the limits of their craft. Today's figures prove that the tax relief is making a real difference for studios, the industry and the UK."

Latest comments (3)

Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises11 months ago
I hate seeing governments trying to micromanage businesses like this, and decide the winners and losers. But what choice do they have? Other countries, provinces, and states are all offering similar tax breaks and undercutting each other to get new studios opened in their jurisdictions.
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Christopher Dring Publisher, GamesIndustry.biz11 months ago
It is one of those things. There was proving to be such a brain drain on British talent, with many experienced creators moving to Canada and places like that, which made the introduction of this tax relief very important.

Although there's little evidence yet that big publishers are increasing their investment in the UK, in fact quite the opposite when you consider the recent closure of Lionhead and the cut backs made by Activision.
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Nick Ferguson Sr. Business Development Manager, Amazon11 months ago
Microsoft has invested massively in UK development with Forza Horizon, Gears of War 4, Crackdown 3, Minecraft and Sea of Thieves all developed or co-developed with British studios.
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