U.K. Conservative Party Pledges Increased Support For Game Industry

U.K. Conservative Party Pledges Increased Support For Game Industry

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A member of the U.K. Conservative Party has said the government isn't doing enough to support the development industry in that country, which he says is under "great threat" from a shortage of suitably skilled graduates as well as competition from other nations.

Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative Party's Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, said in an interview with MCV that unlike the current Labour government, his party is prepared to take decisive steps to support the industry. Among the proposals he outlined are new tax breaks for the game industry in the U.K., the formulation of economic policies that will "specifically benefit" game companies, and a "more robust IP framework" to combat piracy.

While vague, his support for the industry is expected to be welcome in light of comments made earlier in August, when Eidos CEO Jane Cavanagh said the game industry was "not being taken seriously" by high levels of government. Her comments came after Eidos announced the creation of a new studio in Montreal, creating 350 new jobs and pushing Canada past the U.K. as a development industry employer. "Quebec offers a 37.5 percent contribution towards development salaries, which is a huge incentive," she said. "Over the years, people have tried to lobby for this sort of funding in the U.K. - in line with the perks given to U.K. film studios - and the result has been pretty much nil."

Hunt echoed those comments by saying, "Tax breaks for the games industry similar to those experienced by the film industry could go some way to remedying this situation and this is something I will be discussing with my colleagues in the Conservative Treasury team."

Tracing its roots back to the mid-1600s, the Conservative and Unionist Party of the United Kingdom is one of the oldest political parties in the world. While it held power for the majority of the 20th century, the party has served as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition since losing the 1997 election to the Tony Blair-led Labour Party.

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Sounds very much like a campaign "vote me in" pledge of course, and hopefully it might spur the other parties to saying something positive too. Only recently was a proper report done by the UK trade bodies representing the industry about the problems, hopefully this is something from that effort.

I see it as fairly typical politicking: we'll consider this, we'll look into that, and we'll investigate something else. There's very little there of any substance, and certainly nothing he can be held to in the future. At the same time, there's no question that the focus on the games industry is significant. Even though in the eyes of Hunt and his crew it's likely nothing more than a few more numbers and dollar signs on the bottom line, the mere recognition of the industry (and by extension, of gamers) is very relevant. It's a case of the lies being less important than who they're told to.

You mean a few more pound signs ;) we're not the 52nd state just yet.

And I agree, entirely insubstantial, I just hope it makes the other parties at least recognise the (very major) problem, and say it is something that needs looking at and something done about.

 

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