I daresay that many of you have been following today's budget with considerable interest, but seeing as we're a gaming site, we'll ignore the wider discussion in order to focus on the ramifications for the UK games industry. Notably: that the long-promised tax breaks have been delayed yet again, but an extra £10 million will be invested into the creative entertainment sector.Click here to read more...
It's been a long time coming, but tax breaks for UK-based game developers has been officially announced by Chancellor George Osborne as part of this year's budget. These tax credits will "support our brilliant video games and animations industries," and more importantly, stop British studios relocating to more financially attractive areas such as Canada and Korea.
As you'd expect, our homegrown developers are welcoming the decision across the board. We've got their reactions and more details after the break.Click here to read more...
TIGA, the trade association representing the UK’s games industry, has once again issued an urgent call to the current government calling for the introduction of targeted tax breaks in order to reduce the cost of game development in the UK and provide the opportunity for growth seen abroad in countries such as Canada.Click here to read more...
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.Click here for more
Our Coalition government officially scrapped planned tax breaks for UK Games studios when they came into power- but after last week's secret meeting with industry figures, Chancellor George Osborne may be set to reintroduce the measure in next month's budget speech.About time too. Click here for the details!
The games industry represents an ever-increasing proportion of our economy, with our British studios arguably representing a thriving manufacturing industry in its own right. Gordon Brown's Labour administration originally proposed to extend tax breaks to homegrown UK developers and British-based arms of larger corporations in order to promote growth and foreign investment in the industry... but the current Coalition government recently decided to shelve the plans.
Further to this news, Culture minister Ed Vaizey confirmed that he will likely put these tax breaks on a "three or four year hiatus" during yesterday's Culture Department Select Committee meeting. This essentially means that we'll probably have to wait for the next general election for the issue to be put back onto the table. [Gamespot]
We have no political bias here at Dealspwn (apart from our overt affiliation with the Mushroom Kingdom and our glorious Combine overlords), but we'd love to get your take on the situation. Have your say in the comments!
The quirky veterans at Twisted Pixel have announced that they're working on a sequel to XBLA hit Splosion Man. Titled Ms Splosion Man (an interesting gender issue that I'm not going to touch with a barge pole), it's set for an Autumn 2011 release.
Twisted Pixel CEO Josh Bear confirmed that there was one major difference between the new protagonist and the original adorable maniac.
"Splosion Man has a penis, Ms. Splosion Man has a vagina."
Thanks for the anatomy lesson, Josh. Luckily there will also be new gameplay elements and a fleshed out cooperative mode. TP are also working on a mysterious new franchise with ex-Harmonix dev Dan Teasdale... and would like to revisit Comic Jumper if they "can add more sexist and racist things to it." [Thanks, Joystiq]
Their latest release, Comic Jumper, had an exciting premise yet oddly delivered less innovation than we're used to from the left-field studio. We're looking forward to a return to form.
Our Gamescom preview of Def Jam Rapstar highlighted the impressive social networking aspects of the title that allow aspiring rap stars to upload their videos to be rated by the community. We were informed that numerous competitions for cash prizes and event invitations would be awarded to encourage fresh UK talent... but in a surprisingly epic turn of events, Konami have teamed up with Atlantic Records UK to offer a recording contract for "Britain's Best New Rapper."
Videos are viewed and judged by the Rapstar community- and the highest rated MCs will be invited to compete in "8 Mile style" regional qualifiers. The winners will proceed to a prestigious London final- where the best rapper will receive a recording contract for his first single.
We've seen fourth-wall breaking contests and integrated community functionality before... but with continual support, Def Jam Rapstar has the potential to become something very special indeed. The competition will begin in the new year and we'll keep an eye on the brackets.
Yo, we heard y'all like PS2. So we put one... inside your TV!
Well, on the bottom anyway. Sony has rolled out a new 22 inch Bravia television that includes built-in PS2 hardware. The BRAVIA KDL-22PX300 runs in 720p (though won't upscale), can play PS2 games, is backwards-compatible with the original Playstation... and costs £199.
This is a thing that we want.
Whilst the Wii still provides us with the odd hectic multiplayer session (and the DS continues to offer a fantastic mix of hardcore and casual titles), we couldn't help but notice the distinct absensce of triple-A Wii titles last year. Speaking via an interpreter with the Economist, Miyamoto admitted that Nintendo simply couldn't get enough games out there.
"The fact that in 2009 we were not able to sell more than we did in 2008 was simply that in comparison, we were not able to produce fun-enough products."
True that, Shigeru. Whilst 2009 was a good year for gaming in general, the lack of first party Wii games was a real disappointment; as was the abysmal quality of the shovelware cluttering up the store shelves. However, the Nintendo boss went on to explain that he was undaunted by the lowered sales, and clarified his vision of Nintendo's tried-and-tested sales strategy.
"There was a separation between people who play video games and people who don’t. And looking at that kind of situation, I personally wanted to break down the wall between the two, and bring back gaming to anybody, the general public, just as it used to be many years ago."
Well that's certainly working. The Wii and DS have reached a target audience that Microsoft and Sony can only dream of- but it's unclear whether the casual market will provide the continued sales that dedicated, hardcore gamers can. What do you think of the Wii's first party performance in 2009? See a bright future for Miyamoto's casual baby? Let us know in the comments! [The Economist]
Remember Front Mission? Square Enix's masterful blend of customisable mech warfare with turn based strategy (think Japanese Battletech) stands today as a true cult classic. Oh, and masterful use of the English language allowed them to get away with calling mechs "wanzers" (walking panzers) instead of...walking tanks. Work it out.
However, the latest iteration of the series, Front Mission: Evolved, is going to be a third person shooter- which has riled up its hardcore fanbase something awful. Western subcontractor Double Helix Games has been quick to guarantee that Front Mission: Evolved won't turn out to be another lazy shooter.
“The world of Front Mission is enough to support multiple genres. We worked very closely with Square Enix to ensure a lot of strategic elements made the transition into the third-person-shooter style.”- Jeremy Lee, Double Helix Development Director
I hope he's on the level. Front Mission deserves nothing less than a fantastic next-gen iteration. [Wired.com]
Gordon Brown famously (and correctly) praised the UK games industry as being the best in Europe- and his Labour government is making sure that our AAA companies are receiving kickbacks for their trouble. Chancellor Alistair Darling has announced that the UK Gaming industry can expect government support.
"Our creative industries are a huge source of jobs, wealth and pride. I will offer help to the computer games sector similar to the steps which are helping to restore the fortunes of the British film industry."
However, no solid guarantees have been made as yet- suggesting that this might be a shrewd way of garnering gamer popularity before the impending general election. The response from UK devs has been extremely positive, but even they are cautious about whether this is a cynical popularity play rather than a genuine recognition of our developers' contribution to the economy.
"It is really heartening to finally see government recognising our industry, albeit on the eve of an election. Let's raise a glass and hope that it is a genuine plan to do something, rather than just another plan to 'consult'."- Frontier's David Braben
Whilst this is great news for the UK gaming industry, his tax break does raise some interesting questions about the definition of what makes a Video Game in the first place. What makes video game code different from the applets and programs spooled by underpaid coders working for other industries? [Gamesindustry.biz]