Eidos life president Ian Livingstone tells us that the game industry must rethink its approach to government assistance.
He believes that in light of the coalition’s decision to withdraw the tax breaks offered in the March budget, the industry must come up with an alternative, more positive proposal.
“Don’t call it a tax break, call it an investment fund,” he told us in an interview due to be published in E218, out in UK newsagents on August 3. His comments echo statements made during the 2010 GameHorizon conference in which he told delegates that “lobbying for a tax breaks … probably smacks of an industry in need, desperate for handouts". His comments also parallel those made to us by David Braben earlier this month.
“Maybe the coalition saw tax breaks as something akin to a handout to an industry in trouble”, Livingstone continued. “Of course, it isn’t in trouble; there just isn’t an even playing field internationally. Developers are competing with 37.5 per cent tax breaks in Canada, 20 per cent in France, and naturally cheap labour markets in Asia and the far east.”
Rather than simply re-branding the assistance, Livingstone believes it should take the form of an investment fund aimed at start-ups and small companies. “There’s no point having relief which taxes you at a lesser rate after the event", he said. "People need the money up front to invest in their ideas”.
Our full interview with Ian Livingstone will published on August 3 in E218.