ELSPA, the trade body for the UK computer and video game industry, has thrown its support behind comments made by Eidos CEO Jane Cavanagh, who stated this week that the video game industry is "not being taken seriously" by the UK government, and that more government support is needed for the industry to thrive.
Cavanagh is not alone in her feelings, with the UK-based consortium The Independent Game Developers Association (TIGA) last month calling for a need
for government and game developers to work together to face issues and challenges currently facing the UK games industry, which recently fell to fourth behind Canada, the US and Japan in terms of global game production.
According to the organization, many of the UK's game developers and talent are being lured away by regions such as Canada, which offers tax breaks and incentives, an observation echoed by the Eidos executive.
“Quebec offers a 37.5 per cent contribution towards development salaries, which is a huge incentive," Cavanagh told games industry trade paper MCV. “Over the years, people have tried lobby for this sort of funding in the UK – in line with the perks given to UK film studios – and the result has been pretty much nil. It seems that this industry is not being taken seriously: not only in terms of retaining talent, but for foreign companies to come in and create a pool of talent.”
Earlier this year Eidos opened up a new studio
in Montreal, Québec, a move that is expected to create 350 jobs over the next 3 years. Due to both favorable tax and government incentives, as well as early investment by companies such as Ubisoft, Montreal has been increasingly in prominence as a development location in recent years, with Electronic Arts also setting up a development arm there as well.
ELSPA director general Paul Jackson said: "Jane's comments reflect the very serious position the industry finds itself in. ELSPA has been engaging with the new Brown government on this issue via the DCMS and DEBRR. Our impression is that government understand that there is a serious problem here and we have been invited back to discuss the issue further.”
“However,” he added, “we are wary that historically government has never really given us the support we require when compared with other industries in our sector. It is therefore up to this new administration to reverse the failings of the past and fully support the games industry at this difficult time.”