Canadian Dev to U.K.: “Tax Breaks Are Not Essential”

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The CEO of Canadian independent game studio Behaviour Interactive admits that the country’s generous tax system is helpful but says it has never once actually helped him nail down a publishing contract.

Canada and the U.K. have diametrically opposed approaches toward their respective videogame industries. Federal and provincial governments in Canada, not to mention some regional organizations, are tripping over each other in their haste to throw generous tax breaks and other incentives at developers both large and small, while in the U.K. they prefer to tease the industry with a meager bone and then yoink it away at the last second. It’s a situation the U.K. industry often complains about but Remi Racine, the CEO of Montreal-based Behaviour Interactive has a word to the wise for his British counterparts: It’s not really a big deal.

“We calculate tax breaks in our price structure when pitching projects, and explain that around 15-18 per cent of production costs will go back to [the publisher],” he told Develop. “When you think about it, that’s a 15 per cent saving on production costs, but it doesn’t make better games, which is what publishers ultimately want.”

He explained that while tax breaks are helpful, his studio still loses out on publishing deals to U.K.-based outfits because while Canada has a pleasant tax climate, British studios have history and experience on their side.

“Tax breaks are not essential. Some of the biggest successes in the industry, like Grand Theft Auto, are still created in the U.K.,” he said. “Canadian studios are losing as many pitches as U.K. ones. I have competitors in the U.K., and I lose business to them. Never have I won a pitch on price. We win on how we pitch.”

Behaviour Interactive, which until recently was known as Artifical Mind and Movement (A2M), is currently at work on the sequels to Wet and Naughty Bear.

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