Game companies in Quebec are about to see their subsidies from the government evaporate. In an effort to get rid of the provincial government's deficit and cut spending, lawmakers in Quebec have decided to cut the generous subsidies they have given companies willing to move to and do business in the region.
According to a report in the French-Canadian publication La Presse, the Quebec government plans to cut as much as $500 million from the incentives it currently offers multinational businesses like Ubisoft. Ubisoft could lose as much as 20 percent of their benefits.
Gamasutra reports that the Australian government will shut down the Australian Interactive Games Fund on July 1st, backing away from a pledge to support Australia's game industry by investing $20 million in federal funds into the sector to fund local game development.
Throughout the US and around the world, game developers are fighting for tax incentives and breaks similar to those offered to other creative industries such as the movie industry. Many groups such as TIGA in the UK make the claim that such tax breaks are needed in order to compete with other nations for game development talent, competition created in part by the tax breaks and incentives offered in those competing nations.
While these fights for increased tax breaks rage on, one question seems to remain unasked. Are these tax incentives worth the trouble?
TIGA, the trade group that represents the video games industry in the UK, announced that it will facilitate a series of events around the country to help developers understand the importance of the new Games Tax Relief recently approved by the government. The tour will start in Oxford, England sometime in May, and all of the events will be free for developers to attend. These events will feature input from UK industry veterans as well.
Georgia has signed into law a new tax incentive program for video game makers. The new law, House Bill 958, puts up $25 million in tax credits for video game developers in the region.
There are several high profile studios in the region including Hi-Rez Studios (Smite), Tripwire Interactive (Rising Storm) and CCP Games (EVE Online).
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.
The 2014 budget has been passed in the United Kingdom, but once again this year tax relief for the video games industry in the region were not included. UKIE CEO Jo Twist described the ongoing struggle to get tax relief included in the budget "frustrating." The campaign for tax relief similar to what is enjoyed by the film and TV industries has been going on for years, but there were high hopes from the sector and the trade groups representing it in the UK that it would happen this year.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today presented Texas Gov. Rick Perry (and former Republican presidential candidate) an award for his efforts to create jobs, provide tax incentives and generally foster the growth of the computer and video game industry in the state. ESA president and CEO Michael D. Gallagher presented the award to the Governor and praised him for his "longstanding support for the industry" during an award ceremony at the historic Governor’s Mansion.
The House Ways and Means Committee released details on in its long-awaited tax reform bill, which offers a variety of tax benefits to businesses... while excluding video game makers from R&D tax credits, according to a Washington Examiner report.
Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) said in a new report that it would push hard for the passage of an national Internet sales tax law and for better data privacy regulations this year. In its annual policy agenda, the trade group highlighted the issues it deemed to be of grave importance this year. A federal law to deal with online sales tax is at the top of the list. The group, which represents traditional retailers, believes that having a national sales tax collection law will levy the playing field so that online-only retailers don't have an advantage.
According to a brief report in Tax News the French government is pushing to reform the country's video games tax credit (known as the CIJV). French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti, Budget Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, and Innovation Minister Fleur Pellerin, have all embraced the French National Assembly's adoption of plans to reform the country's video games tax credit (CIJV).
The Entertaintment Software Association (ESA) issued a press release this week praising the Texas Film Commission for expanding its economic incentives to include "digital interactive media productions."
During the United Kingdom's March 2012 Budget it looked like plans for tax breaks for video games developers were a lock, but a European Commission (EC) investigation that was announced today has put their future in doubt. The European Commission announced today that it plans to investigate the proposals, and questions whether there is an obvious market failure in the UK games industry.
Specifically the EC is seeking answers to four key questions related to the UK games tax relief plan:
Tax relief for the video games industry in the United Kingdom has been delayed because the European Commission was not able to approve the Cultural Test provisions of the plan, according to this GamesIndustry International report. The Cultural Test requires those applying for tax credits to promote the culture of the UK in various ways.
UK games industry trade groups UKIE and TIGA expressed their disappointment in the news, but were optimistic that the government would continue to be committed to tax breaks for games developers.
When a publisher leaves a studio high and dry in the United Kingdom, industry trade body Tiga thinks that such abandoned projects should be eligible for tax relief. Tiga CEO Richard Wilson said that publishers have in the past left some studios in the UK “high and dry” by demanding large development teams for extended periods to then cancel a project with little or no notice at all.
As news of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings in Newtown, Connecticut were coming to light on December 14, the finishing touches were being put on a deal with the Nevada Economic Development Board and Take-Two Interactive (see Vegas Inc. for the details). This week that deal is being questioned by the media in the state.