UK MP Ed Vaizey Calls on Video Games Industry to Spend Tax Incentives on Hiring Youngsters in the UK

March 31, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries said that, now that the UK video games industry is confirmed to get tax relief, he wants the sector to focus on bringing more youngsters into the business, as opposed to spending that money on hiring from outside the region. Last week the European Parliament gave the greenlight to the scheme, much to the delight of the industry in the UK and the members of parliament that have long supported giving tax incentives to the sector.

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Vaizey Appears at Develop Conference, Reiterates Game Biz Support

July 14, 2010 -

Gathering up the strength to appear at the UK’s Develop Conference despite the government removing game industry tax incentives from its emergency budget, Shadow Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey walked a fine line—claiming that he championed the games biz, yet endorsing George Osborne’s plan to focus on the greater and more immediate financial needs of the UK.

In recounting a question to Vaizey about Games Tax Relief being offered in the future, the Guardian wrote that Vaizey was “non-committal, but offered a glimmer of hope." The MP stated, “I can't emphasise enough that I'm not the chancellor; it's just that in my view the treasury is always open to rational argument.”

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Vaizey: Conservatives in Power Would Delay Game Tax Breaks

January 22, 2010 -

While Keith Vaz being mocked in absentia at this week’s eForum roundtable on the state of the UK games industry was a humorous aspect of the proceedings, there were also some deep insights to emerge from the meeting as well.

Jas Purewal attended the forum and wrote up a couple of the more interesting notes on his website. Among them, a comment from Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) that if the Conservative party comes into power this year, there would most likely be no movement on creating tax incentives for game developers for two to three years. Vaizey reasoned that a focus on correcting the current recession would take top priority and push any talk on incentives to the back burner.

Vaizey also disclosed his hope that TIGA and ELSPA could work together more closely in the future, or even merge.

More coverage from the forum on the topics of tax breaks, digital distribution and education can be found on this page of Purewal’s site.

5 comments

UK Conservatives Scored on Game Issues

November 4, 2009 -

A piece up on The Sixth Axis website poses the question, “What if: The Tories Win” and goes about breaking down what a Conservative Party win might mean for the UK developers and gamers.

The article kicks off by describing the ways politicians can shape gaming, including tax breaks for developers, deciding how games are rated and influencing the speed of Internet connections.

Ed Vaizey, Shadow Culture Minister is the focus of most of the piece, with the author offering “WIN” or “FAIL” grades for Vaizey’s inferred stances or public remarks on topics ranging from integration of videogames into the UK Film Council (a “WIN”), ways to help grow UK game development (a “FAIL”), developments in broadband (a “WIN” and a “FAIL”) and Internet piracy (a “WIN”).

Details on the “WIN” grade for involving the UK Film Council in games:

One of the best ideas from the Conservatives is to integrate video games in to the UK Film Council, a body that looks after the economic, cultural and educational aspects of the UK film industry both here and abroad. The council also distributes Lottery money to finance new independent UK films and I would assume they would to the same for games. This could lead to a more PSN and XBLA games.

The author finishes with an overview of the Shadow Culture Minister:

He appears to be enthusiastic about gaming and he does not assume that anyone who plays GTA IV will go and chainsaw a nearby prostitute – this is a very good thing. The bit where he understands gaming does not turn you in to a psycho, not the chainsawing of prostitutes.


|Image via LOLMart|

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MP: British Govt. Obsessed With Video Game Violence Issue

September 11, 2009 -

Shadow Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey (left), a consistent supporter of the UK's video game industry, said this week that the British Government was too focused on the video game violence issue and not paying enough attention to helping the industry grow.

Develop reports that Vaizey made his comments while registering for the new London Games Conference, which will be held in October. The Conservative Member of Parliament said:

I’m delighted to be speaking to the London Games Conference. The games sector is one of the most successful creative industries in the UK, but it has been forgotten by Government.

While Canada and France aggressively compete to attract talent, all our politicians can talk about is video games violence.

Yet games should be a dream for a politician – it recruits people qualified in difficult subjects, like maths and computer science; it’s regional; and it’s successful and world-beating. Government backing should be a no-brainer.

11 comments

British MP: ELSPA and Tiga Should Merge

May 13, 2009 -

ESA, EMA, ESRB, IGDA, ELSPA, Tiga: On both sides of the Atlantic the alphabet soup is bubbling when it comes to video game industry trade groups.

But one member of Parliament thinks that the British video game industry would be better served with a single organization whose name people could remember.

Conservative MP Edward Vaizey (left), who has been a vocal supporter of the game biz, told IncGamers:

[ELSPA and Tiga should] merge and have a name everyone can understand. Two trade bodies for one industry, why?

 

The videogame industry has to up its game and tell people what they're about. There are all these great stories about videogames which never get into the press. [The two trade bodies - ELSPA and Tiga] [s]hould get together and talk to each other, and get the good press stories out there...

Vaizey also criticized the Labour Government's recent Change4Life campaign which suggested that playing video games would lead to an early death. The campaign was later revised.

GP: Vaizey may be a bit off the mark here. ELSPA represents game publishers, while Tiga represents game developers. While there are areas of mutual concern, the interests of the two groups are not always in synch.

3 comments

Fable II, LBP, GRID Receive Kudos in Parliament

March 29, 2009 -

As noted on the House of Commons website, Conservative MP Edward Vaizey (left) introduced an early day motion last week to recognize BAFTA nominees and winners, including Little Big Planet, Fable II and Race Driver: GRID.

A vocal backer of the UK video game industry, Vaizey also took the opportunity to criticize the Labour Government for not providing what he views as a sufficient level of support to the British game biz:

[Moved:] That this House notes the importance of the video games sector to the UK economy; congratulates the winners and nominees at this year's Bafta Video Games Awards; notes in particular the success of UK developed games, including Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet, Codemasters'  and Lionhead Studios' Fable II, all of which won awards...

 

applauds this recognition of the continued success and significance of video games despite the complete lack of support from Government; regrets the fact that this lack of support from Government has seen the UK fall from being the third largest producer of video games in the world to the fifth largest; and urges the Government to devise a clear and supportive strategy for the UK video games sector as part of the Digital Britain review.

GP: Vaizey's name is popping up on GamePolitics with enough regularity that we've added a tag for him in our category list.

12 comments

British Conservative Party Charges Govt. with Failing UK Game Biz

February 11, 2009 -

A Conservative member of the British Parliament has accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government of failing the UK's video game industry.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, Ed Vaizey (left) said:

The Government's strategy for videogames has been shown to be nothing more than a sham. For months, whenever we have pressed the Government for action, they have used the excuse that the issue had been referred to the WTO. Now they no longer have this excuse.

As the games industry itself says, the Government now 'stands naked, bereft of a credible fiscal policy with which to support the sector.

 

The Government must act now to support an industry that is world-beating, job-creating and at the heart of our creative industries. After nine reviews of the creative industries, and eight more in the pipeline, the Government's dithering has now been exposed as causing real damage.

Vaizey's mention of the WTO refers to a trade complaint which the UK filed against Canada in March, 2008. As Gamers Daily News reports, that bid has failed.

Richard Wilson, head of British game developers' trade group Tiga, echoed Vaizey's criticism of the government's handling of the video game sector:

Last year the Government said that the UK via the European Union would take legal action against Canada if its support for its video games industry violated WTO rules. We now know that there are no legal grounds on which to lodge a complaint.

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. If you can’t beat them, join them.

The Government stands naked before the games industry, bereft of a credible fiscal policy with which to support the sector...

22 comments

In Parliament, Lively Debate on Video Game Ratings & Green Cross Man

November 14, 2008 -

The House of Commons had a lengthy and entertaining debate on video game issues yesterday. Also under discussion was the issue of Internet safety for children. Both topics, of course, were the focus of the well-known Byron Review.

MPs, including Labour Party game critic Keith Vaz argued about game ratings, game violence and whether the government does enough to support the British game biz.

The session had to be gaveled to order at a couple of points and Vaz made reference to a "secret tea" attended by Conservative MP Edward Vaizey and game industry execs. And, as if the ongoing turf war between PEGI and BBFC for U.K. ratings dominance wasn't complex enough, yesterday's debate also featured the light-hearted suggestion that British road safety icon the Green Cross Man (left) somehow be tied into the game rating system.

In this report, we've omitted the Internet bits to focus on the video game debate. Here's our abridged transcript:

John Whittingdale (Conservative): ...If one looks for empirical, hard, factual evidence that viewing a particular video or playing a video game has led someone to go out and commit a crime such as a rape or an act of violence, there is very little. Our view was therefore... that we should act on the probability of risk. Where there is a probable risk that someone would be influenced by exposure to such material, that is sufficient cause for intervention...

Tanya Byron did a great deal of work on that. Her other conclusion, which was shared strongly by the Committee, was that we cannot completely insulate children from material that might pose a risk. Part of educating children involves teaching them how to deal with risks. If we insulate them to the extent that they never encounter risks, they will not know how to deal with them...

Providers such as Microsoft told us about the parental controls that they have installed into products such as the Xbox... We were impressed by the commitment that almost every major industry body, including internet service providers, social networking sites and hardware manufacturers, has shown regarding the protection of young people, but there is no commonality...

I want to talk about video games in the final part of my remarks. I know that Keith Vaz... has several concerns about this issue, so he has arrived [late] at just the right moment.

Part of the problem with video games... is that there is no hard evidence to prove that playing a game will lead someone to go out and commit a crime or physical attack. Nevertheless, we agree that there is a probability that it could occur, and there is anecdotal evidence to support that view. The Video Recordings Act 1984 provided that games should be classified, that it is necessary to restrict certain games to people over a certain age... and that there would be games that should be banned entirely. That system has been generally successful since then, although there is often controversy about individual games...

Edward Vaizey (Conservative): I invite my hon. Friend, in the tone of his remarks, to make the point that when we talk about harmful video games and films, we are talking about a small minority. Does he agree that it is incumbent on hon. Members to remind the House as often as possible, when they talk about video games, that we have a most successful video games industry in this country, which employs thousands of people?

John Whittingdale (Conservative): My hon. Friend is entirely right. The video games industry is increasingly important and generates more money than the film industry. It is something that we are very good at. We are a creative nation, and many of the most successful games were developed here. We strongly support the games industry's efforts to ensure that it remains strong in this country and is not poached by other countries such as Canada, which is attempting to attract it there.

Keith Vaz (Labour): ...The fact remains that some of those games, even though they are a minority, are very violent. The hon. Gentleman and I have both commented on the video internet game "Kaboom" in which people replicate the activities of a suicide bomber. It cannot be right that the makers of those games should choose such storylines to provide entertainment, especially on the internet, where our children and under-18s can access them more easily than if they were going into a shop to buy them, as with non-internet games?

John Whittingdale (Conservative): This is a very difficult area and "Kaboom", which has been around for a little while, is an interesting example. It is a remarkably crude, cartoon-type game and is not in the least realistic, as many games now are. It is undoubtedly tasteless and might be offensive to a large number of people. I suspect that it is probably distressing to anyone who has suffered a bereavement as the result of a suicide bombing. Does that mean that it should be banned? I am not convinced that it should, because it is so crude, and other games pose greater concerns.

Edward Vaizey (Conservative): May I make a point to my hon. Friend? In his response to Keith Vaz, he has implied that "Kaboom" is somehow a legitimate video game that breaches the boundaries of taste, but it is not. It was created by an individual in his bedroom. To say that we should ban "Kaboom" is, with the greatest respect to my hon. Friend, slightly missing the point."Kaboom" is not subject to any legal constraints. It cannot be submitted to a regulator to be classified, because it is made by an individual, effectively illegally, outside the mainstream... It is not at all part of the mainstream video games industry. (more after the jump)

Video Games Linked to Rape in Parliament Debate

March 3, 2008 -

Although we can't think of a single commercial video game with an interactive rape scene, British MP - and frequent game critic - Keith Vaz (left) made sexual violence sound like a gaming staple in a debate on Friday.

As reported by Spong, the issue under consideration was Conservative MP Julian Brazier's bill to bring additional censorship to games in the U.K. Although Brazier's attempt ultimately failed, Vaz, not surprisingly, was a supporter:

Someone sitting at a computer playing a video game, or someone with one of those small devices that young people have these days, the name of which I forget - PlayStations or PSPs, something of that kind...

Well, whatever they are called, when people play these things, they can interact. They can shoot people; they can kill people. As the honourable Gentleman said, they can rape women.


Conservative MP Edward Vaizey, speaking later, questioned Vaz's rape assertion:

...the right honourable Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz), who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, mentioned that some video games allow the participant to engage in a rape act... I checked the point with the BBFC and found it to be completely unaware of any such video game.

 

Is the honourable Gentleman aware of any video game that has as its intention the carrying out of rape or that allows the game player to carry out such an act? The BBFC and I are unaware of any such game.


Vaz, however, was not present to respond to Vaizey. But the frequent game critic also took time to paint the U.K.'s video game industry and gaming press as malign forces:

The industry is one of the strongest and most powerful in the media today, and London is the centre of that industry.

 

Whenever those of us who raise the issue of video games have done so positively in relation to concerns about violence, we have been pilloried in the press that is sponsored by the video games industry for trying in some way to destroy it.


Link to full debate here...

 
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quiknkoldMarvel just made my nips hard10/22/2014 - 9:50pm
Andrew EisenMarvel also shows it understands that once it leaks, it's out there and went ahead and officially released the trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeOjFno6Do10/22/2014 - 9:36pm
E. Zachary KnightMarvel's response is the best.10/22/2014 - 9:31pm
Andrew EisenI'll be streaming some games tonight at 8p PST in preparation for Saturday's marathon. twitch.tv/andreweisen10/22/2014 - 9:30pm
Adam802http://www.cbsnews.com/news/3d-video-games-surprising-concern/10/22/2014 - 9:16pm
MaskedPixelanteI'm not sure how to feel about Ultron's mouth. I'm sure he has one in the comics, but this is getting dangerously close to Transformers "Optimus has a defined mouth and it looks super weird" territory for me.10/22/2014 - 8:49pm
Andrew EisenMarvel on the leaked Avengers 2 trailer: https://twitter.com/Marvel/status/52507165630662656010/22/2014 - 8:09pm
E. Zachary KnightI squeed like a little girl when I watched the leaked Avengers Age of Ultron trailer. So much awesome.10/22/2014 - 6:47pm
quiknkoldI have a problem with games that use a digit for sequals when clearly they can be called something else. Five Nights at Freddy's 2? Nonono. Its "Another Five Nights at Freddy's" or "Five Nights Week 2"10/22/2014 - 5:30pm
E. Zachary KnightExtra Credits has come out against GamerGate. https://www.facebook.com/ExtraCredits/posts/86104175727438610/22/2014 - 5:28pm
E. Zachary Knightis it really that hard to answer a question, that to me seems fairly straight forward? I ask, because I have asked a specific question now 3 times without an actual answer in the wastebook thread.10/22/2014 - 5:20pm
Andrew EisenFive Nights at Freddy's 2! Yay! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVPONdZBh6s10/22/2014 - 5:07pm
Matthew Wilsonyou guys know he doesnt work for ea anymore?10/22/2014 - 5:02pm
WymorenceYou forgot having to open Unity through Origin too. :p10/22/2014 - 4:37pm
MaskedPixelanteUnity will now be licensed out half finished, with remaining tools to be sold back to you for 10-15 dollars a piece.10/22/2014 - 3:23pm
E. Zachary KnightNot a big fan of this news, but Unity3D's CEO is stepping down and John Riccitiello steps up. http://gamasutra.com/view/news/228384/Helgason_steps_down_as_Unity_CEO_and_John_Riccitiello_steps_up.php10/22/2014 - 3:06pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's probably extremism.10/22/2014 - 12:07pm
Matthew Wilsonthat being said, they are more likely to blame religious extremists than games.10/22/2014 - 12:01pm
Matthew Wilsonlets just hope they dont try to blame video games.10/22/2014 - 12:00pm
MaskedPixelanteOh joy, Ottawa's on lockdown, this is going to be a fun couple of days...10/22/2014 - 11:56am
 

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