The chief executive of UK developer organization TIGA thinks that Canada is a major threat to game development in his home country.
Last month, hopes of UK-based game developers for an industry tax break were dashed, and developers from Canada - where such tax breaks are already in effect - wasted no time in taking advantage of it. One Canadian organization placed fake Canadian passports on the seats at the recent Game Horizon conference in Newcastle, leading at least one UK-based developer to call the Canadians "vultures."
Yesterday, on the BBC One's Politics Show, TIGA boss Richard Wilson echoed the sentiments. While pointing out just how important the videogame industry was to the UK - "[it] contributes £1 billion to UK GDP, it generates £415m in tax receipts for the treasury, it employs 30,000 people - many of them in very highly skilled jobs" - Wilson expressed frustration that the Canadians had what he thought was an unfair advantage.
The UK was "competing on a very uneven playing field," said Wilson, arguing that that "the Canadians are a major threat to our industry."
However, Entertainment Software Association of Canada executive director Danielle Parr fired back, saying that "all's fair in love and war." And games, as we all know very well, are war.
"A lot of people are looking at Canada and saying how are they doing this, they're taking all our jobs, how are they attracting our investment and we're not able to keep them here," said Parr. "We're just simply trying to promote the videogame industry in general, promote what Canada has to offer. And we'll take the best and the brightest, we'll take your investment."
Parr does have a point in that the Canadians aren't doing anything illegal. If you have to point fingers, shouldn't they be at the UK government for refusing to offer the necessary deals? Either way, it's certain that whatever happens, we haven't yet seen the last of this UK/Canada industry spat.
Also, this may in fact be the first time that Canada has ever been credibly called a "major threat" to anything. Just kidding, Canadians. I love you guys as long as you still have Tim Horton's.