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Ireland To Lure Scottish Games Industry

29 Sep 2009  by   Paul Younger

In a bid to revive Ireland’s economic dilemma, Sir Gerry Robinson, knighted for his services to business and the arts in Britain, told the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin last weekend that Irish authorities should try to attract the Scottish videogames industry.Scotland houses some of the best videogame developers in the world; including Rockstar of GTA fame, Ruffian of Crackdown and Realtime Worlds who are working on MMO APB to name a few, and is under threat again because of the lacklustre tax breaks the Scottish government already provide.The Scottish games industry employs around 700 people and produces about £50 million GBP annually, one of the most successful and rapidly growing industries in Scotland. Already members of parliament in the UK have started to knock out plans to retain the talent pool in this country by implementing an all-party parliamentary group which will help games developers raise their concerns with the government.The industry has already lost business to Canada specifically, with extremely strong tax incentives that have helped videogame developers move away, but with the threat of a country closer to home offering better incentives it’s likely more companies will cross the Irish Sea.Realtime Worlds studio manager, Colin Macdonald, has told the Herald Scotland that he would consider moving if Ireland did offer a more comprehensive tax break package.”If the package on offer in Ireland was attractive we’d have to give it serious consideration,” he said.”Dundee is a great place to be based, one of the main hubs for computer games in Britain, but at the end of the day we’ve got to look after our bottom line.”Although Macdonald acknowledges that the Scottish government are doing what they can to support the games industry, he believes that it could be doing more.”This sector is growing at a pace outstripping most traditional industries and Scotland is ideally placed to punch above its weight in seizing the new opportunities with its world-leading capability, from the larger studios producing games which have grossed billions of dollars to the cumulative synergy of countless smaller outlets.”The Scottish government has responded claiming that it can’t do much more and that this is an example of a “need for radical change” that will provide full financial autonomy for Scotland.”Until we have these powers, we’ll continue to make the UK government aware of the implications for the Scottish gaming industry,” said a spokesperson.We’ve contacted the Scottish Parliament, the Irish government, Rockstar North and Richard Wilson from TIGA and will have an update for you as soon as we have anymore news. In the meantime though, it looks as though we might be losing more of one of our greatest industries.

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