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Canada's ESA Tells UK 'We'll Take The Best'

The executive director for the Canadian Entertainment Software Association trade body said in a recent interview that the country would be happy to welcome UK-based talent that has been turned off by the recent tax break debacle.
Weeks after the UK government scrapped tax breaks for video game developers in the country, Canada's Entertainment Software Association trade body is bringing out the welcome wagon. "I think a lot of people are looking at Canada and saying 'How are they doing this, they're taking all our jobs? How are they attracting our investment and we're not able to keep them here?'" said Danielle Parr, the Canadian ESA's executive director on BBC's Politics Show, Develop reported Monday. "But as they say, all's fair in love and war," she said. "We're just simply trying to promote the video game industry in general, promote what Canada has to offer, and we'll take the best and the brightest; we'll take your investment." Industry watchers in the UK have expressed concern that the country's talent pool is migrating to North America for better opportunities. Canada has become increasingly attractive to video game companies, as regional governments in the country have extended tax incentives to developers. Last year, Paris, France-based Splinter Cell publisher Ubisoft announced plans to open a Toronto-based development studio that would eventually create 800 jobs. The Ontario government said it would invest CAD$263 million ($226 million) over 10 years. Parr said, "We've certainly as a nation made it a priority and invested a lot in this industry and we're hoping that will pay off with our continued growth and our continued dominance in the video game space." Richard Wilson, CEO of UK video game trade organization TIGA, said, "We’re competing on a very uneven playing field. The Canadians are a major threat to our industry." But UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey downplayed that Canadian threat: "The Canadian government has made a decision to get behind the video game industry and to create one virtually out of nothing," he said. "But I feel that it’s still a relatively level playing field, because while the Canadians are putting in a lot of direct financial support, it’s very hard to create the kind of ecology that we have in this country."

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