That Downing Street petition


In Britain we have a mechanism whereby you can petition the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street online. Citizen activism in action. Only it isn’t, I have signed a few of these and at the end you just get a pathetic apologist message and nothing is done. Just as you would expect.

This one is about the video game industry in the UK. Sign it if you want, I have. Here is the wording:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Provide tax or other incentives to support the UK computer and video games industry.”

“We are looking on in horror as flagship UK company Eidos who created the iconic Lara Croft, is facing problems of competing in a global environment.

The UK games industry requires tax incentives or some other assistance to maintain a competitive market for global publishers. According to Tiga, the trade association for UK developers, the number of independent studios has shrunk from about 400 in 2001 to 150 today. Much of this is because publishers such as Ubisoft of France, Sony of Japan and EA of the US have purchased the high performing studios.

It is evident that studios based elsewhere are making efforts to extract what grassroots talent the UK has. The FT wrote in 2007 Montreal is offering to pay about 40 per cent of the salaries of the SCi developers and to give them a tax holiday. Such grants have enticed global publishers, such as EA and Ubisoft, to set up in the city.

We need the same to support UK talent in this industry that is expected to grow phenomenally in the next 3 years, but with rising costs in development more staff are required and it is increasingly less attractive to fund these larger projects here, and almost impossible for independent studios to start production.”

I thought the EIDOS problem was bad management. But other than that our industry is exporting itself to Canada, for a lot of reasons. In fact anyone in our industry would be a fool not to go. Gordon Brown is not going to change that, he thinks that video games cause knife crime.

1 Comment

  1. Its great to see people looking to support the games industry. For those of us working in it, we work long and hard to provide quality entertainment that touches so much of our society and culture, from medical training to the military simulations, and everything in between.

    It would be nice for the government to acknowledge that for the most part, dev studios live on a subsistance model, and that the massive employee taxes mean that it can be very difficult to survive from project to project.

    Video games are one of the last growth industries on this island, and boy do we have a lot of talent in the UK. I hope that the government recoginzes this.

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