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UK videogames cultural test for tax relief applications

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UK videogames cultural test for tax relief applications
#1 Submitted: Tue, 11/12/2012 - 18:38

"The UK government has unveiled details of the cultural test for video games tax relief in its draft legislation released today.

To pass the tests, provided below, a game must be awarded at least 16 points to be eligible for tax breaks."

It's all a bit vague and incomprehensible (what the fuck is a "British story" exactly?) but it's good to see the government taking some interest in gaming, both as a commercial enterprise and a artistic platform, and not just writing it off as rubbish for yobs.

http://www.develop-online.net/news/42752/Revealed-The-video-games-cultural-test

I wonder if Carmageddon would qualify?

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Submitted: Tue, 11/12/2012 - 23:42

Looks like it should be pretty easy to get some tax breaks in more "linear" games with little to no character development like a Beat Em Up or Racer, whilst pretty much anything with a bit of freedom is basically fucked due to the vagueness of what stuff like "50% of the game" means. What is that? Combined map size? Average time spent in there on first run through? In-game movies and other scripted events?

It's a great idea, I would love to see more mainstream video games based in the UK rather than just made here (GTA anyone?) and this could help push developers to at least consider it. Video games aren't exactly a bureaucratic wet dream though which makes schemes like these useless unless the vagueness of terms like "British story" is meant to give the examiners some freedom to make their decisions.

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Submitted: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 04:24

snaredrumknee 50% of the game means half of the game being made what did you think, they do dribble in that content of what has to be eliglable for a 16 point score but its kinda stupid really if you wanted 16 points you would make 4 chars the main chars of britsh crap and then do a story of say britsh histroy getting pissed on, then you would only allow those who work in the british to work on a game such as this and get the full 16 points plus a laugh and a half for getting there becasue you have just taking the complete piss out of the britsh lol.

what a waste of time, but it doesnt state how long you get the tax breakes for if you make a game with 16 points thats the sadist thing about this.

It could just be 1 say tax bracket they take away for getting the full 16 points of this crappy system.

Oh well to politics and beyond what a way for those in power to get a sence that they have made people more crazy than anyone else for following there rules.

bah, what you get is over the top rubish and all the points in the world :P

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Submitted: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 13:22

stygimoloch wrote:
"The UK government has unveiled details of the cultural test for video games tax relief in its draft legislation released today.

To pass the tests, provided below, a game must be awarded at least 16 points to be eligible for tax breaks."

It's all a bit vague and incomprehensible (what the fuck is a "British story" exactly?) but it's good to see the government taking some interest in gaming, both as a commercial enterprise and a artistic platform, and not just writing it off as rubbish for yobs.

http://www.develop-online.net/news/42752/Revealed-The-video-games-cultural-test

I wonder if Carmageddon would qualify?

I would expect Carmageddon would qualify. I think they would like likely max out the points for team members being British and would get plenty enough additional points in the characters and locations to make up the required 16 points as it's set in an entirely undetermined fictional location.

Over all the tax breaks are a lot more reasonable than I was expecting from the Tories. Having no minimum revenue requirement is certainly a very good thing for burgeoning indie developers. Hopefully it's a big success and when the next government reevaluates it the decide to keep it and maybe relax the requirements a bit.

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Submitted: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 18:36

lemonrev wrote:
snaredrumknee 50% of the game means half of the game being made what did you think

It says set in, not made in. My point is since a lot games are getting more and more open that line's going to be harder to draw. :P

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Submitted: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 20:47

Trent wrote:
Over all the tax breaks are a lot more reasonable than I was expecting from the Tories. Having no minimum revenue requirement is certainly a very good thing for burgeoning indie developers. Hopefully it's a big success and when the next government reevaluates it the decide to keep it and maybe relax the requirements a bit.

Aye. The UK could and should be leading the world in software development, but neither the current nor previous governments seem to see it as an economically beneficial sector. This tax relief scheme is a positive sign though.

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Submitted: Thu, 13/12/2012 - 10:22

SnareDrumKneeCaps wrote:
lemonrev wrote:
snaredrumknee 50% of the game means half of the game being made what did you think

It says set in, not made in. My point is since a lot games are getting more and more open that line's going to be harder to draw. :P

I assume it will be a mix between the number of locations and the proportion of the campaign spent in them. Games being open-world doesn't blur the line at all as there's never going to be games which span multiple countries separated by a large body of water, that's far too big. I'd say making an open-world game would make it very straight forward for developers as the game would either be set entirely in a British city (or region) or it wouldn't at all.

Far more difficult would be the very closed and linear games such like Call of Duty or discontinuous games such as racing games. Such games are often globe trotting in their environments and would require a lot more shoehorning of British locations into the story (or in the case of racing games, the creation of many fictional British street circuits to balance the many foreign circuits racing games demand).

A lot of people seem to be missing the whole thing that fantasy locations which the developers have made up also count towards getting points. The games don't have to be set in Britain if they're not set in real-world locations. Games like Fable and Dishonored would meet the location requirements, while GTA4 certainly would not. You might be thinking "But, Trent, GTA4 was set in the fictional city called Liberty City." However it is clearly based on New York City and the game acknowledges that Liberty City is set in an alternate version of America. Carmageddon should be suitable for the location requirements as there's absolutely no indication about where it is set. Bleak City could be an English city every bit as much as it could be an American city.

Location isn't the deciding factor either. You could score 0 points for the location and still meet the 16 point requirement of the cultural test.

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Submitted: Thu, 13/12/2012 - 20:14

good point there trent, I was thinking someone was going to have a go at us lol....

I do wonder though how many people will take up the challange and come up with something that people will want to play though..

Intersting times :)

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Submitted: Thu, 20/12/2012 - 15:24

Just to clarify, I'm not specifically referring to Sandbox games likes Just Cause 2 or GTA4, but any game with a reasonably "open" world the player can explore and do their own thing in.

My point with that train of thought though was mainly looking at Deus Ex: Human Revolution. From what I remember (and my memory is terrible, so I'm aware the differences may not be as drastic as I'm remembering) Detroit was noticeably smaller than the fictional Chinese city Hengsha. Yet the player spends more time based in Detroit. This makes splitting up the game locations into easy to read percentages harder than it would with say a racing game were it would be easy to say "20% of the tracks are in the UK, 50% are in the US and 30% are in Germany". :)

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