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Overseas demand for UK computer games specialists
by Susie Hughes at 10:06 25/04/14 (News on Business)
IT consultants specialising in programming computer games will be in great demand overseas as a recent survey shows that
UK computer games programmers are increasingly being head-hunted by companies based in the US and Canada – risking a “brain drain” of UK IT talent.
More than 50 per cent of the online gaming adverts aimed at UK games programmers are for positions in North America (USA and Canada). Only 20 per cent of are for UK based jobs, less than those based in mainland Europe.

According Procorre, an international professional services consultancy, the UK Government has taken some steps to prevent this ‘brain drain’ of these gaming professionals to overseas companies by offering limited tax breaks. Game developers are able to claim a 25 per cent tax break on the production of games that pass a test based on whether the game is set in the UK, how many characters are from the UK, and whether the production team is based in the UK. UK games developers want to extend this to games all developed in the UK.

Procorre says that the UK has developed particular expertise in computer games development, which requires a combination of technical, creative and artistic skills. The UK has also become a world leader in online gaming such as spread betting and online gambling as its regulatory regime is far less restrictive than other countries such as the USA and Germany.

In Canada, the drive to attract computer games businesses and professionals from the UK and elsewhere has been supported by generous tax breaks for online gaming companies such as refundable tax credits and payroll tax credits, which are still on offer in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

As well as British video games developers US companies are also actively recruiting UK online gambling programmers. In the US this sector has remained relatively underdeveloped because the country has had strict laws against online gambling. However, these rules are gradually being relaxed, prompting a rush by US companies to recruit top UK gaming talent in a bid for rapid expansion.

Lisa Mangan, Relationship Manager at Procorre, said: “The UK is regarded as a leader in developing computer games and in online gaming.

“The danger for the UK games industry and for the wider UK economy is that many of the best and brightest will be recruited by overseas firms who may have deeper pockets and be prepared to pay more.

“The computer games industry makes a significant contribution to the UK economy and the Government is right to do everything it can to encourage these and other specialist IT consultants to remain in the UK.

“UK games consultants are now being courted by some of the very best international employers in online gaming and video gaming who are targeting ambitious growth."

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014

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