The World Trade organisation won’t be saving the British video games industry.
British gaming trade group TIGA has long complained that the UK’s relatively high tax rates aren’t just anti-competitive, the group claims the tax breaks other countries regularly dole out to game publishers violate international trade agreements. So at TIGA’s request, the UK (via the EU) lodged a protest with the WTO, specifically picking on Canada for its generous supports to video game companies.
No dice: Today the WTO shot down the complaint.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. TIGA is now begging the British parlaiment for tax breaks:
We cannot stop our competitors from benefiting from tax breaks but there is a simple solution: copy them. Just as Australia, Canada, China, France, Singapore, South Korea and some American states help their games industries to grow through extensive tax breaks, so the UK Government should back our games industry with a tax break for games production…
“The Government stands naked before the games industry, bereft of a credible fiscal policy with which to support the sector. The Government should announce in the Budget its intention to introduce a 20% tax break for games production, similar to the EU approved French regime that applies to games that pass a cultural test.
It remains to be see if British game publishers find any traction. But their cause isn’t so crazy: In a curiously timed announcement, Korean game publisher NCSoft today announced it was eliminating 55 gaming jobs in Brighton and transfering the work to studios in Seattle and California.