To better understand the state of the European game industry ahead of GDC Europe, Game Developers Conference officials have surveyed over 800 European games industry professionals who have attended a past GDC event.
The data gathered from that survey has now been compiled into the fourth annual GDC Europe State of the Industry report, and it offers both an interesting snapshot of the European game industry as it stands now and some perspective on how it has changed over the past year.
Yesterday, we shared some highlights from the report that showcased how PC and mobile still reign as the top platforms European developers make games for -- but interest in VR is rising fast.
Today, we dig even deeper into the survey results and share some data on how respondents feel about the perennially popular topic of tax incentives for game development in Europe.
This data was collected, organized and presented by the UBM Game Network, which also runs GDC, VRDC and GDC Europe. You can register to download the full report at the GDC Europe State of the Industry hub.
European devs are a bit happier with the state of video game tax breaks
Tax incentives for game development are a perennially popular topic in Europe, and so GDC has made a habit of surveying how European game industry professionals feel about the video game tax incentives in their own country.
This year, as in years past, negative feelings outweighed positive ones. 33.8 percent of survey respondents saying they were not happy with their country’s video game tax breaks while just 16.8 percent said that actually, yes, they were happy. 49.2 percent said they were neutral on the topic.
That’s a bit less than last year, when 52.4 percent of survey respondents said they were neutral on video game tax incentives in their country. At that time 34.9 percent said they were unhappy about the situation, while just 12.5 percent said they were happy with their country’s tax breaks.
So where do those surveyed think the best video game tax incentives are found? Well, 75.9 percent said “I’m not sure” when asked which European country currently offers the best tax incentives for game development. Those who did have an opinion on the subject mostly chose the United Kingdom (12.5 percent), followed by Finland (3.8 percent) and France (2.1 percent.)
That mostly matches up with how survey respondents felt last year, though the percentages are significantly different since last year’s survey did not include the “I don’t know” option. Without that, 40.1 percent of last year’s respondents said the United Kingdom had the best video game tax breaks in Europe, 12.9 percent said Sweden and 11.7 percent said Finland.
Survey respondents also had the option of sharing their own opinions on the state of Europe’s video game tax break incentives, and they did so with gusto.
“I think a lot of the western European countries are beginning to appreciate what game developers, both large and small can do for the economy,” wrote one respondent. “It seems like a sizable number are beginning to encourage game development through tax breaks.”
“I'm concerned that Britain leaving the European Union could have a very negative impact,” wrote another.
“Developers in Europe need to get organized so we can have more influence in the current state of tax breaks and be considered more seriously across countries,” one respondent opined.
It's worth noting that this survey was conducted before the U.K. actually voted, via public referendum, to "Brexit" and remove itself from the European Union.
Also, it's important to know that, when asked where in Europe they currently reside and given a list of 15 countries to choose from, 20 percent of the over 800 survey respondents said the United Kingdom, 18.2 percent said “Other” and 17 percent said Germany.
Going deeper down the list of most popular responses, 7.9 percent hailed from Sweden, 6.5 percent said they were in the Netherlands and 5.1 percent said Finland. 4 percent were from Denmark, 3.8 percent said France and 3.5 percent said Poland. Each of the remaining options (Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Russia and Spain) netted less than 3 percent of respondents.
Organized by UBM Tech Game Network, GDC Europe 2016 will be held on Monday and Tuesday, August 15th and 16th at the Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany, co-located with Europe's video game trade and public show gamescom. One week remains to register before Wednesday, July 20th, at the discounted Early Bird rate.
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