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Decline appears in number of games certified for UK tax relief

87 titles received final certification so far in 2018, down from over 100 last year

The BFI has released the latest statistics for how many games have successfully applied for tax breaks in the UK, and they've started to decline.

A report shows that, in the first six months of 2018, 87 video games received certification under the cultural test, representing an EEA/UK spend of £69.9 million and a total budget £78.4 million.

This is down when compared to the first half of 2017, when 114 games received final certification - although it is almost in line with the 90 certified in H1 2016. Similarly the spend and budget have both dropped year-on-year from £84 million and £102.9 million respectively.

77 games also received interim certification under the cultural test - another year-on-year decline from 86 titles last year. Spend for interim certified titles actually increased year-on-year from £200 million to £274 million, but total budget dropped from £830 million to £216 million - this has been attributed to "a very small number of developments with very high budgets."

Over the twelve months, starting from July 2017, the number of games receiving final certification more than doubles to 185 games - but this is a drop from the previous 12-month period, where 213 games were certified.

But both the EEA/UK spend and total budget from July 2017 to June 2018 were up year-on-year. The former rose from £187 million to £234.7 million, while the latter increased from £214.7 million to £253.1 million.

In the rolling year, 172 games received interim certification, with an expected EEA/UK spend of £500 million and total budget of £1.1 billion - all of which are a marked increase over the previous year.

In a statement sent to GamesIndustry.biz, TIGA chairman and Rebellion founder Jason Kingsley suggested the decrease in the number of certified games "suggests that more can be done to encourage both emerging and established developers to thrive."

Last year, we published Ella Romanos' guide to making the most of video games tax relief and why more developers should look into whether they qualify.

It was recently revealed that 480 games have benefitted from video games tax relief since the scheme was introduced to the UK in April 2014 - more than the number of TV productions that received tax breaks.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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