Driver: San Francisco A Home-Grown Success
Ubisoft's Driver: San Francisco proves the UK games industry is still capable of delivering big-budget, top-tier titles. That's according to TIGA CEO, Dr Richard Wilson. TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, believe that that Ubisoft Reflections-developed Driver: San Francisco's success proves the UK still has a "highly talented and qualified games development workforce", but cast doubt on the future of such titles considering the UK Governments lack of support for the industry. We spoke to Dr Wilson regarding government support and what changes TIGA would like to see in the future.
"We want the UK Government to wake up and support our high technology industry through a sector specific tax break for games production – Games Tax Relief," Dr Wilson told us when contacted on the matter. Unlike North America and Canada, whose games industries enjoy significant tax breaks and bursaries, the UK Government has yet to lavish the same financial support on its own burgeoning workforce. "I also want the Coalition Government to make the Small Firms R&D Tax Credits much more generous."
Dr Wilson went on to explain that not enough support is offered to young or small developers working on exciting prototypes. Wilson explained that "we need better early stage funding for developers beyond prototype development". Our economy is in dire straits at the moment, but with the games industry growing year on year and with a prominent number of young, talented designers in our very own backyard, the UK Government would be stupid not to support and encourage growth in this sector.
Dr Wilson warns that the continued success of titles such as Driver: San Francisco - developed by Ubisoft Reflections in Newcastle - is "questionable, given the uneven playing field that the UK games industry is competing upon". As it stands, the most successful UK-based studios benefit from the likes of Microsoft or Sony bankrolling their projects, not their own governments.
What do you think, Dealspwners? Should the UK Government change its stance on our games industry? Is change needed for UK-developed titles to push forward and compete with their American and Japanese counterparts? Sign off below.