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Gov responds to UK games industry woes

"Takes seriously" its creative role.

The UK Government has said it "takes seriously" the role of the videogame industry and is going to look at evidence for introducing tax breaks like those recently awarded in France.

The politicians were responding to a petition lead by famous UK outfit Eidos, which complained about being unable to compete with studios in other countries that are more readily assisted by their leaders.

"The Government takes seriously the contribution of the UK's creative industries to the economy and to the UK's cultural richness. Creative Britain - New talents for the New Economy, published earlier this year, set out the 26 commitments with which the Government would support the creative industries," read the statement.

"In that document, the Government committed to making sure that the creative industries, including the games sector, were aware of and made the best use of the generous Research and Development tax credits for small and medium-sized enterprises, introduced by the Government in 2000. The Government has already been promoting the credit within the industry.

"The Government must be mindful of the need to ensure fair competition and value for money for tax payers whilst ensuring that any tax incentives are supported by evidence. The Government is conscious of the recent approval of a cultural tax relief for games in France and is working with the UK industry to collect and review the evidence for introducing such a credit in the UK."

The promises of help are non-specific, but send a signal to other UK developers that the issue has been noted.

The original petition eventually accumulated over 2100 signatures, and called for help in a sector expected to grow "phenomenally" in the next three years. Rising development costs, it suggested, made commissioning work here too expensive and created an environment almost impossible for an independent studio to survive in.

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