CEO Bobby Kotick says the UK has plenty of talented developers, but the government doesn’t do enough to support them.
Activision top dog Kotick has said that the publisher hasn’t ruled out moving its UK operation elsewhere in the world, after the UK’s coalition government went back on its promise to support tax relief for the videogame industry.
Kotick called the decision by the UK government not to grant the tax breaks a “terrible mistake,” adding that there were places all over the world that were actively encouraging the videogame industry. Besides its UK-based developers, Activision operates a corporate office and a manufacturing/distribution center in the UK. If the company does decide to look for greener pastures elsewhere, then the UK could lose around 600 jobs.
TIGA, a trade body representing the UK videogame industry, says that Activision might not be the only company who decides to up sticks and leave. It warns that the UK risks losing a lot of its talented developers to other countries, and has accused the government of not doing enough to foster growth in the UK economy.
It’s hard to believe that Kotick’s warning/threat is entirely serious. It seems much more likely that he’s trying to rattle a few cages and get people in Westminster paying attention to the issue again. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen however, as the UK government has expressed a preference for more general infrastructural changes – like the recent cut in corporation tax – rather than benefits for one particular industry.