Train2Game News First Year Games Tax Relief

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237 games approved for Video Games Tax Relief in 2015, BFI stats show

Stats released today by the BFI show that 237 games were approved for Video Games Tax Relief in 2015 with a total EEA/UK spend of £728.9m. 2015 is the first full year since their launch in April 2014.

A breakdown of these figures in Interim and Final certification is as follows:

Final – 116 games, EEA/UK spend £180.9m, Total budget £265.6m, EEA/UK is 68.1% of total budget

Interim – 121 games, EEA/UK spend £548m, Total budget £603.6m, EEA/UK is 90.8% of total budget

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist responded to the stats, saying: “These figures show that the Video Games Tax relief is working to encourage strong growth in our sector. The high interim figures also indicate that this is only expected to show more growth in the coming months and years, with more culturally British games being created in the UK with a wider range of budgets.”

“Now that we have a clearer picture of the impact, with the full first year’s figures, Ukie would like further detail to be provided, starting with a regional breakdown of the numbers to show how VGTR is helping across the country. We are now undeniably in a stronger place thanks to VGTR. We have a level playing field with the rest of the world, and now we need to capitalise on that opportunity. Initiatives such as the Mayor-funded Games London plan and the London Games Festival, which will showcase why the UK is games capital of the world, are showing what we can achieve with the right support in place .”

The full report can be found here http://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-british-film-other-screen-sector-certification-2015-2016-03-02.pdf with the stats for games on p.15.

Train2Game News Altara Games loan figures

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Altara Games today has released figures on its loans against video games tax relief to date. In just under 6 months, the company has provided loans to the value of over £1.5m.

These loans have varied in size from £70k to over £500k, and have been provided a broad range of studios and games across the UK.

Ella Romanos said “We started this company to provide what we believed was crucial support for UK studios to help them grow and develop new titles, and to enable them to use the tax relief to their advantage as much as possible. I am thrilled that we have been able to work with such a diverse group of studios, from small teams to larger established studios. I believe our approach of fast turnaround and genuinely understanding the realities of game development has helped us to ensure our loans are suited to industry needs.”

Altara Games provides loans from any point during development, even before development has begun as long as the company has their ‘interim certificate’ confirming that their game is eligible for relief. Loans are provided within weeks, and are only repaid once the tax relief is received.

To find out more, visit www.altaragames.com

Train2Game News UKIE on Tax Relief

UKIE LogoUK games trade body heralds new reliefs as a huge boost to the UK games and interactive entertainment sector and pledges to now further promote the UK games industry to the rest of the world

Following today’s announcement that the long-awaited games production credit scheme has been greenlit by the European Commission, Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist said: “This is a huge boost to the UK games and interactive entertainment sector and the start of a great new era of games production in the UK. We are delighted the European Commission recognised the clear market failure for the production of games with a British and European flavour, using UK-based creative and highly skilled talent.

“We are extremely happy to have played a part, as a strong collective voice for the industry, to get the scheme over the finishing line. We have been in constant contact with government throughout the process and have applied pressure and evidence for the scheme to be introduced at every opportunity.

“I’d like to thank all the hundreds of games companies and individuals across the country who have worked so hard collectively and who have played such a crucial role in getting to this point. The next strategic priority for us now is in applying pressure in different ways so that games businesses can access more programmes which support access to international markets, training and finance so we can be fully recognised as a sector that can lead the world again.”

Ukie will be focussing on ensuring UK developers from all parts of the country and of all sizes know how to benefit from the scheme. Ukie will also be working with its creative industry partners and the UKTI to ensure more support can be accessed by UK businesses to access new markets and to promote the UK as a destination for studios.

“We are touring the country for a series of events with experts from UK government and other industry experts to give simple, clear advice to the companies so they know what they have to do to benefit.”

Ukie will be launching their tax production credit roadshows and how to workshops around the UK from April with tax experts Saffery Champness and the BFI (who are administering the cultural test) on hand to help developers understand how they can apply for them. The first briefing session will be on 15 April in London at UkieHQ (2pm). Further sessions will also be held on the evening of 30 April in Edinburgh (6pm) in partnership with the Scottish Games Network and in Birmingham on the afternoon of 2 May (2pm), in partnership with Innovation Birmingham.

More dates in Newcastle, Liverpool and Bristol will be confirmed soon. Please register for all the events here.

Train2Game News UKIE still positive after budget

UKIE LogoUK games trade body still optimistic of getting a decision from the EC soon and urges UK government to continue pushing as hard as possible for their introduction.

Responding to the Budget announcement by Chancellor George Osborne, Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist said the following about the lack of any announcement on the long-awaited games production tax credits by the Chancellor.

Dr Twist said: “The ongoing delay to the UK games tax relief scheme has been very frustrating for UK developers. Whilst there was not any announcement about the European Commission’s decision in this year’s budget, we continue to be confident that our case is strong and that we will receive word from the EC soon. We know that the Treasury and other UK government departments have worked hard to convince Europe of the case for UK Games Tax Relief, and we will continue to do everything we can to help push tax relief over the finishing line and get this vital scheme in place for UK developers as soon as possible”.

The full Budget document (the Red Book) sets out a small change to the legislation behind Games Tax Relief, in paragraph 2.114, which would be enacted should the relief get clearance. However, the relief remains subject to state aid clearance, meaning that final European Commission approval is still required before it can go ahead.

There was other relevant news for games companies in the Budget however, with announcements of:

·         The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme to be made permanent
·         Extra £85 million in next two years in grants to employers to support 100,000 new apprenticeships
·         £20 million over 2 years to support degree-level apprenticeships
·         Confirmation that Corporation Tax will be 21% in April, 20% from April 2015
·         £2,000 Employment Allowance announced last year will come into force in April – reduces Employer National Insurance Contributions
·         UK Export Finance will be reformed to support intangible exports, be much more proactive in support of UK businesses, and have its direct lending budget double to £3 billion at the lowest permitted interest rates.
·         R&D Tax Credit for loss-making SMEs will increase from 11% to 14.5%
·         Enterprise Zone discounts on business rates and Enhanced Capital Allowances will be extended by 3 years
·         Double the Annual Investment Allowance for businesses to £500,000 until the end of 2015
·         Provide £42 million over 5 years to set up the Alan Turing Institute to lead the world in Big Data and algorithm research

In response, Dr Twist said: “Many of these new announcements are welcome steps which should help further cement the position of the UK as the best place in the world to make and sell games. Helping SMEs to grow more quickly is particularly crucial, and the announcements on SEIS and export support should have a good impact in this regard.

“However, it is Games Tax Relief which will have a real impact in unlocking our sector’s cultural and economic potential, as the government recognised when introducing the scheme. It is vital that we get it in place as soon as possible”.

Train2Game News: UKIE still campaigning for Games Tax Relief

UKIE LogoUkie has again called for the planned games production credits for UK games businesses to be introduced as soon as possible.

The games trade body has cited new UK production statistics released today by the BFI, that show the new High-end Television Tax Relief has delivered over £233 million for the UK economy in its first nine months, as evidence of the benefits that a similar relief system would bring to the UK’s games sector.

Board member of film and TV body, Film London, and Chair of Ukie, Andy Payne said:

“Seeing the hard financial evidence that the production tax credits have worked for high end TV, and in such a short space of time, proves that the digital creative industries can drive exports, deliver growth and high value jobs as well as attract considerable inward investment.

“This will play a significant part in increasing the UK’s productivity which is so badly needed. The games industry looks forward to the games production tax credits coming into force very soon and having a very positive effect for the UK games industry and the creative industries for UKPLC.”

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist said: “These figures show the massive benefits that tax credits could bring to the UK games industry, opening the door for big inward investment and helping small businesses to scale up. They would help the creative talent in this country to produce more and compete in a global marketplace with uniquely British or European flavoured games. We know that the UK government continues to be behind the games tax relief and remain positive that they will be introduced. We urge UK government and the European Commission to make sure that the new system is introduced as soon as possible so that UK games business can benefit in the same way that TV sector is.”

View the full BFI figures here http://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-film-production-in-the-uk-full-year-2013-2014-01-30.pdf

Ukie will be focussing on working with the government and other creative industry agencies to ensure the games sector benefits from other inward investment activities, trade support programmes and industry promotion as part of the government’s wider ambition to sell the opportunity that the UK’s creative industries offer.

Train2Game News: Train2Game in 2012 – January to March

Train2Game2012 has been a good year for Train2Game and the students and I am going to take you through some of the best bits.

At the end of January some Train2Game students entered a game jam in Scotland.

The Scottish Game Jam is part of Global Game Jam 2012 and at the event Train2Game Art & Animation students Fiona Stewart and Corinna Bruce were winners of the Best Art Award at the Scottish Game Jam.

It was at this jam where the game Shplem was created and nominated for a BAFTA award.

The first quarter of the year was also the run up to the Make Something Unreal Live competition.

Four student studios: Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam were working hard trying to get together their games which were based on the Fighting Fantasy books which would be displayed at The Gadget Show live in April.

It is a time I remember well as I was a proud member of Digital Mage and it was one of the greatest times of my life.

Possibly the most important part of early 2012 was the government announcing that they would implement the Games Tax Relief. Just the mere announcement of this has seen the games industry grow to new heights.

Train2Game News: Games industry blasts to new heights

The latest numbers from trade association UKIE show the UK games industry being worth £3.266 billion. It accounts for almost half of the entertainment market in the United Kingdom

Over 28,000 people are employed by the industry, 9000 of which are skilled roles at over 200 development studios. The research suggests over 32 million people actively play games in the UK, with the average age of 33. An equivalent of more than one console is owned per household.

In addition Google Play, the android market place, is catching up to Apple’s App Store.

Google play has just surpassed 25 billion downloads of its 675,000 applications and the App store hit 25 billion downloads back in March of its 700,00 apps.

Google has seen over 500 million Android device activations and Apple has seen over 400 million iOS devices activated. The number of Apple devices should rise with the recent release of iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. A current potential 900 million mobile gamers on Android and iOS alone.

Google intends to celebrate the 25 billion downloads milestone by offering cheaper featured apps and other discounts on films, books, albums and magazines for the next five days.

With such large numbers people can not ignore the games industry. It is now a big part of the world and should only get bigger with the introduction of the tax break.

The numbers have been released for the start of the London Games Festival which begins today with the opening of Eurogamer.

Train2Game News: “There’s never been a better time to run your own gig” – Ian Livingstone

Now is a better time than ever been before for an aspiring game developer to run their own business. That’s according to Eidos life president and games industry veteran Ian Livingstone who was speaking at BAFTA’s Games Question Time.

“There’s never been a better time to run your own gig” said Livingstone, after praising the introduction of games tax relief earlier this year. The Fighting Fantasy co-author added that the rise of digital downloads and trends such as monetisation through free-to-play have all contributed to making it easier than ever to set up an independent games studio.

Ian Livingstone was one of a number of industry figures who aided in mentoring Train2Game students taking part in Make Something Unreal Live last April. The Games Workshop co-founder said he was “delighted” to be part of the initiative.

There’s more from Ian Livingstone here on The Train2Game Blog.

Do you agree with Ian Livingstone in believing that now’s a better time than there’s ever been to do your own thing?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.