Ireland woos industry with new games incentive packages

Irish PM launches business review; Games Ireland says country will be "best place to develop games by 2016"

Ireland's prime minister Enda Kenny has today announced plans to attract more games development to the country using flexible incentive packages.

Games Ireland, a newly formed trade body representing the industry in Ireland, supports the move, which it hopes will change the culture of games development in the country.

"All the biggest brands in the world are almost here now," Games Ireland's communications director Paul Hayes told

"We just need to change the narrative and the types of projects they're doing. A lot of them are here in a support function."

A government report published yesterday by Forfás outlined the areas that the government is willing to look at in terms of the incentives, which include tax based incentives, and R&D and project grants.

We'll take the best that we can from the Korean or the French or the Canadian experience, and just try and add what we can.

Paul Hayes, Games Ireland

Hayes explained that these packages would be fluid, and dependant on the needs of each company.

"The industry is evolving so fast that we kind of have to stay flexible in terms of the package of incentives that might work, and almost individually tailor them," he said.

"We'll take the best that we can from the Korean or the French or the Canadian experience, and just try and add what we can. I think as a country we've been pretty good at that and this is the first time that we've really focussed on games with a bit of a laser beam."

Representatives from some of the industries biggest companies were in attendance in Dublin for the launch, including SCEE, Microsoft, Nintendo, Activision Blizzard and EA, all as guests of Game Ireland. Hayes said their input will be vital to the government's plans.

"The video game industry is the most dynamic player in today's entertainment industry. Its unique mixture of creativity, technology, interactivity and fun gives it a head start on the competition," added Games Ireland CEO David Sweeney in an official statement.

"Ireland's rich reservoir of talent, technique and tenacity mean that it is now perfectly placed to play a leading role in Europe's video game industry, The Forfas report is a clear signpost for the kind of Games Incentive Package that Ireland will develop and offer to the fast changing industry to become the best place to develop games by 2016."

Games Ireland itself is only a few months old, but hopes to be able to support those plans by offering exactly what the industry is looking for.

"We're impressed by what TIGA and UKIE and everyone have done," said Hayes.

"We're pretty much going to see what the games industry needs over the next 18 months and then try and deliver that for them in one place."

Games Ireland already counts Activision, BigFish, Popcap, Havok and Demonware among its members.

"We've just come together in the last few months and put the membership together, because there's only about two and a half thousand people employed in Ireland in the games industry, but we're hoping to change that fairly dramatically over the next few years."

The Forfas report identifies six key opportunities for Ireland:

  • Developing an international cluster - stimulating connectedness between related sectors, nationally and internationally.
  • Enhancing skills and experience - addressing short term needs and building a continuous feed-stock of creative, technological and commercial capabilities.
  • Accelerating growth in creative content development - attracting and developing the talent pool - creating the dynamic environment.
  • Building international visibility - raising Ireland's visibility as a vibrant location for the games sector.
  • Driving R&D and innovation - incentivising innovation within Irish based firms, anticipating future needs.
  • Delivering next generation broadband - underpinning future growth with the provision of widely available, competitively priced advanced broadband services to homes and businesses.

With the global games industry expected to grow to £82.4 billion, the report also suggests that Ireland can double its employment in core games to 4500 people by 2015 if action is taken.

"Games can also be a catalyst for growth in a host of other related activities in the digital economy including social networks, search engines, animation, film and video and e-learning," added Martin Shanahan, chief executive of Forfás

"Success for Ireland in the games sector, however, is not a given and will require a step-change in policy and decisive action. The digital economy, of which the games sector is a pioneering force, is different: the sheer pace of change within it, the confluence of creativity, technology and commercial acumen, the revolutionised business models and novel monetisation strategies, the integral role that the customer plays in innovation, and the shifting dynamics through partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.

It demands a more anticipatory, agile and responsive approach to meet its future needs. Effective implementation of the actions outlined in our report will provide companies with the right environment not just for the games sector but in the wider digital economy."

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Latest comments (23)

John Donnelly Quality Assurance 7 years ago
This is good for Ireland, bad for Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK however I am woundering what types of jobs this will generate and who will come in to the market.

I know there is QA for at least one major publisher doing localization testing in Dublin, Blizzard has CS in Cork and Bioware is opening the KOTOR support center in Galway.
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Brendan Tinnelly Client Solutions Manager (Console/MMO), Facebook7 years ago
Ireland is really beginning to make a splash. More and more big players are investing here; Zynga, Popcap, Facebook, Bioware...and they're being supplemented by a lot of homegrown support companies.

I don't know if we'll see a Triple-A game developed here any time soon, but we're still poised to play a significant part in the next few years of the industry.
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Also Riot Games (League of Legends) growing and expanding in Dublin - exciting times there - Aardvark Swift are handling the vacancies - [link url=][/link] details. Marketing/PR and Customer Support vacancies currently.
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Show all comments (23)
John Donnelly Quality Assurance 7 years ago
Ireland is attractive to tech companies already, just look at the companies who have their EU HQs or large offices in Dublin alone, Ebay/PayPal, Google, IBM and Microsoft are just a few.

Ireland has been very good at attracting tech companies in the past with tax breaks and other incentives in the past so its not really a surprise they are doing it for the game industry given whats been happening in places like Canada.

I am just worried this will lead to short term opertunaties and not long term investment in the industry in Ireland.

Ian, it looks to me like most of the roles on offer in Ireland are marketing or CS roles.
I want to development or QA roles open up in Ireland so I can look to get back in to the game industry without having to do a massive relocation again.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Donnelly on 11th October 2011 11:45am

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Donal Phillips Sound Designer, Relentless Software7 years ago
Hopefully there will be a positive impact for the north through cross border initiatives and spur on the local politicians to keep up with the pace. Check out the for whats happening at a grass roots level in NI.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 7 years ago
Donal one can hope but we are talking about the N.I politicians here.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D7 years ago
Looking at the jobs available in Ireland, most of them are customer service type roles - hopefully more development will be attracted there though. It's got a lot to offer - English speaking, an educated workforce, close enough to Europe to maybe attract those who don't want to relocate 3,000 miles away, a reputation as being a very friendly place, for starters. I can see them doing well here.

Northern Irish politicians. Jeez, don't get me started:)
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 7 years ago
Dont worry Andreas OPM and Interactive Selection are also recuiting for people in Ireland.

Having a scan through the jobs here for Ireland there are some open roles in engineering but the majority of the jobs are CS, backend systems (DBA's and the like) and localization.

Nothing for QA though.
Am tempted to shoot the agencies an updated CV just to see what might come up though I am fairly happy in my current role.
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Michael Brown Developer, Evolution Studios7 years ago
So Ireland is the new Canada?

I'm in.
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Glen Elliott Partner/Head of Sales, European Game League7 years ago
I hope they do it long term rather then tax breaks for x number of years like they did with the banking sector several years ago (Most banks now have a next to nothing operation)

Dublin is a great city, beers in Copper Face Jacks!
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Lee Cash Project Manager, DemonWare7 years ago
Just to mention in connection to the lack of engineering jobs in Ireland that we, DemonWare, are looking for developers; specifically people with advanced python and/or erlang skills.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 7 years ago
Been to coppers once.. Said never again and I still mean it, same with club 92 (think its has a new name).

Lee, I wish my python was up to the job, alas I better at breaking the code than making the code :-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Donnelly on 11th October 2011 3:24pm

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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 7 years ago
Hopefully the North can get some love too.
Otherwise what talent we manage to foster in Northern Ireland will migrate south.
Funny considering how much creative talent currently leaves Ireland for English game studios each year.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D7 years ago
The studio-only website I set up a couple of months ago (I don't want to mention it by name here as last time they just deleted the link) has 43 jobs from Ireland at the minute - only three, possibly four, of them are really what you'd call development roles. The rest are mostly CS, sales and marketing, or DB roles. Lots of CS roles, for sure.

It's actually a really good way of seeing what the job market's like, because there aren't any agency jobs on there and so all the jobs are up to date etc. It's a bit depressing that almost half of the 350 open roles atm are for programmers - for the rest of you, it's very tough times!

Still, Ireland to the rescue, eh? :)
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games7 years ago
Great news indeed! Happy to see more countries in Europe realizing how important not only for income, but also creativity and culture gaming is! Well Done!
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Andrew Robinson Art Quality Assurance, CCP Games7 years ago
Scotland especially should be taking note of this having had the opportunity to push a similar scheme for many years and simply not taking the initiative. Somebody had to stand up and promote our industry in the region, I really look forward to watching the development of the Irish games scene over the next few years.
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Jamie McCormick Founder 7 years ago
Go on Ireland :)
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Padraig Crowley Resourcing Manager, Eurocom Entertainment Software7 years ago
Having been there and got the t-shirt, it would be great to see a proper game development industry in Ireland.
I don't think we'll ever see AAA development there but there's no reason why an indigenous mobile/social dev scene couldn't thrive.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Padraig Crowley on 11th October 2011 6:05pm

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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 7 years ago
Hopefully it will sort out the economy there a little so the cost of living isn't so prohibitive. The cost of renting somewhere is prohibitive.
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Keith O'Conor Senior Graphics Programmer, Radical Entertainment7 years ago
Great to see some serious movement on this finally. I look forward to the day I'll be able to return home and still do what I do now.
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Noirin Carmody Commercial Director, Revolution Software7 years ago
Ireland’s success in attracting international technology companies is not wholly based on Tax breaks and financial gain. A careful strategic technology plan was formulated in the late 70’s and 80’s that included an education policy to provide a skilled workforce with technology expertise.

Past UK Governments have not identified this as a major factor in securing future success for games development that has lead to a decline in our sector. If we are to grow our indigenous development sector and keep pace with other countries significant strategic investment is required to enable us to reclaim the recent lost ground.
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JP Vaughan Founder and Producer 7 years ago
Popcap have a sizable development operation here in Dublin. The Dublin office employees about 88 people and the majority are studio. I would agree that more development jobs are what is required for us. It is a shame to bleed talent to other counties.
Any job creation is good news at the moment. More plz!
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises7 years ago
Makes sense, they've already got REALLY low corporate tax rates. So why not give some more tax incentives to specific industries to setup there?

Ontario did that with Ubisoft, and at worst it looks like the province will break even. At best it will make more money off of personal incomes taxes, and even more tax income from former Ubisoft employees who startup their own company.
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