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New IP is the key to European survival, says IO Interactive

In the face of generous tax breaks and cheap labour, Euro devs can remain relevant by creating new characters and technology

European developers can continue to compete with increasingly competitive North American and Asian markets by creating new intellectual property and technology, according to IO Interactive's Thomas Howalt.

In the face of cheap labour in Asia and generous tax benefits in Canada, studios can still attract publisher's to the more expensive European regions with good quality properties, said the business development director for the Hitman and Kane & Lynch developer.

"Our chance to stay on the chart is to invent new intellectual property," said Howalt, speaking in an exclusive interview published today.

"We have to move upwards on the value chain because we're pushed by 5000 graphic artists every year coming out of Chinese universities, we're pushed by Quebec tax benefits and regulations that make it very cheap to produce games over there."

As developer of the Hitman series, IO Interactive has a regular franchise it can rely on for sales, but Howalt points to last year's new project Kane & Lynch as evidence that the studio isn't going to become complacent in a market that sees publisher's swarm to cheaper markets.

"Companies in the European part of the world that find it expensive will have to move themselves and not be content to make the next instalment of a game, we have to create new technologies, we have to create new IPs and business models," offered Howalt.

"That's our chance to remain part of this evolution of the industry."

The full interview with Howalt, where he also discusses the evolution of Eidos, fall-out from the GameSpot review controversy and the ever-maturing games industry, can be read here.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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