Something amazing happened today. The UK Government realised that the videogame industry, which is worth approximately one billion pounds to the British economy annually (and sure to grow), actually exists.
Yes, after years of Keith Vaz’s hilariously misguided attempts to link videogames to murder, and the Daily Mail’s hysteria, we finally have a bit of sanity, which is particularly timely, coming as it does after the vile Alan Titchmarsh debacle last week.
UK videogame developers will finally get tax breaks described as broadly similar to those enjoyed by the film industry in this country, which will hopefully stave off some of the so-called “brain drain” to places like Canada which already enjoy such perks.
As with everything this Government announces, of course, the devil will be in the detail, and this has yet to be fleshed out, partly because the European Commission will have to agree to any such inducements as they will fall under State Aid rules.
Still, with Chancellor Alistair Darling saying that, “This is a highly successful and growing industry, with half its sales coming from exports, and we need to keep British talent in this country,” at last we can hope that our nation’s politicians have finally woken up to one of the UK’s leading sources of creative talent.
Special thanks should go to Tom Watson MP, who has spent the last few months and years lobbying for this moment. He’s one of the few politicians to “get it” when it comes to this burgeoning industry. Hopefully many more will now follow his example, and we will finally start to see the back of the hopeless scaremongering tittle-tattle which has characterised the Government’s and the mainstream media’s attitude towards videogames up to now.