Kuju Entertainment's Ian Baverstock has spoken out about Canadian tax incentives saying the country has "decimated" the French games industry.
The CEO was responding to a question about how the industry in France has benefited from the cultural tax breaks it has been afforded, in a panel discussion at Wednesday's Game Horizon Best of British event in London.
"Unfortunately the Canadians have already totally decimated the French industry," he said.
However, Ubisoft Reflection's Gareth Edmondson disagreed that tax incentives had come too late for France, saying it has "certainly helped" Ubisoft's business although it was still too early to judge fully what the impact will be.
"After the introduction of the tax breaks Ubisoft grew its headcount by 20 per cent, following the 20 per cent tax break," he said.
"I'm not saying that it's because of that, but it certainly helped. The other thing that they have seen happen is that there are a lot more start ups that are taking the chance. It certainly helps stimulate things."
Edmondson added that Ubisoft Reflection's upcoming new Driver game has been eligible for the French tax break, a fact that should allay developers' fears they will need to adhere to certain cultural criteria in order to qualify. "It's a car chase game set in the US and we actually qualify," he said.
The Give us a Break panel discussion debated the impact a cultural tax break could have on the UK industry; an industry which panel member Rick Gibson, director of Games Investor Consulting said is in danger of shrinking and losing its major talent to countries such as Canada.
Gibson revealed figures that indicated the number of development jobs could have fallen by as much as eight per cent over the last three years from 10,000 in 2006 to 9200 in 2009. And predicted the decline could become far worse.
Canada is able to offer tax breaks to individuals, he said, an incentive that is currently luring talent out of the UK and to the country.
It was added that 75 per cent less film production would take place in the UK if the film industry had no tax breaks. It's an system "proven to work," said Gibson.