Tax cuts won't help the UK games industry, says Wedgwood

Splash Damage's owner believes the country's gaming business can solve many problems by paying staff more money

Tax breaks won't help the UK gaming industry, says the owner and creative director of Splash Damage, Paul Wedgwood. He insists instead that studios and publishers must offer better wages and employee benefits.

Speaking to, Wedgwood said he was irritated by calls from Tiga and ELSPA for tax breaks, saying it wasn't needed and gave a distorted image on the state of the UK's games industry.

"I absolutely love game development in the UK - I just don't like all this rubbish about us needing charitable handouts to be successful as an industry, it's a complete pile of toss," Wedgwood explained. "It isn't why we're suffering as an industry and I don't think it's going to solve it."

He said he believed that rising salaries was a good sign of maturity in the industry and in order to keep it growing higher wages and benefits had to be offered - something he felt publishers could easily afford.

"It's good for staff because their salaries are finally going up - because they're in demand and that's really healthy, there's nothing wrong with that at all. It is difficult to recruit if you pay crap money and the UK as a whole was paying rubbish money," he said. "The money is there, the publishers have it, they can afford to pay staff in the UK exactly what they pay in the US, they've just got away with not having to."

"It's a shame for the industry to stick its hand out and say 'help us' when that isn't what actually needs to happen...We're a mature industry, we're much better than we have ever been in the past...I can tell you as the owner of a studio that, at least has the perception of being successful, if I paid less tax we wouldn't make better games," he added.

Splash Damage is the developer behind Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. The company also recently announced a partnership with Bethesda Softworks on an as-yet-unannounced title.

The full interview with Paul Wedgwood is now available.

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Latest comments (3)

Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd12 years ago
The UK doesn't have the same financial infrastructure as the US. We (boxed games) are pretty much totally reliant on US money from US publishers who are now very aware that the UK is now the most expensive place in the world to make games.

Guess what? They don't like it. If you sign a deal with a US publisher on a major game, good luck on retaining your IP. When a title takes off, it is the IP holder who can milk it, move it to a cheaper developer in a different country and reap the rewards.

The billions generated by GTA are going to US investors and publisher, not to the UK.

If tax breaks help UK studios develop and retain IP, then it is good for UK Plc as a whole. i think of Tax breaks as the UK goverment investing in it's creative industries to generate better returns in the long run.

Worth reading this:

[link url=

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Paul Wedgwood CEO / Game Director, Splash Damage Ltd12 years ago
Shame on you guys for jumping in with opinions based purely on the abridged 'soundbyte' version of my comments :) You should know better!

Read a fuller interview here - - for the correct context (recruitment, and my annoyance at the 'we're a suffering industry', not Games Up? (who are doing a great job). Note also that although mood can't be conveyed of course (since smileys aren't included), I was laughing and happy during the intrview - not as arrogant as some quotes sound.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Wedgwood on 7th August 2008 11:15pm

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Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd12 years ago
i don't see these tax breaks as hand-outs. I see them as investment. Given the UK doesn't manufacture anything substantial other than debt, and we are likely to enter not just a recession, but possibly a depression, I would say that any successful industry with the potential for global growth should be backed by this govt. Hand-outs are what the govt is giving to the banks that have got us into this mess.

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