Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Budget 2010: UK games firms welcome tax breaks

Aliens v Predator
The UK gaming industry has had hits such as Aliens v Predator

The chancellor's decision to offer tax breaks to the UK gaming industry has been welcomed as "fantastic news" by those who work in it.

Tiga, the trade association that represents UK games developers said tax relief would create 3,500 more jobs over the next five years.

It would allow the UK to "compete on a global stage," said Tiga chief executive Richard Wilson.

The surprise announcement was made in the budget.

"This is an inspired decision. Games tax relief is good for the UK video games industry, good for UK consumers and good for the UK economy," said Mr Wilson.

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He predicted it would allow £457m to be invested in new games over the next five years.

Jason Kingsley is creative director of Rebellion Studios, an Oxford-based games developer responsible for the chart-topping Aliens v Predator.

He said that the chancellor's decision guaranteed a key part of the UK's heritage.

"We have a history of great engineers, inventors, programmers and games designers. It is brilliant to see the government recognise the importance of the games industry," he said.

The UK games industry is very successful despite the fact that there are few games publishers based in the country and the games development sector only employs around 9,000 people.

It contributed £1bn to the UK economy in 2009, according to Tiga.

Rupert Clark, an analyst from consulting firm Deloitte, said that the the global games industry now makes more money than the box office.

"This move recognises the economic and cultural contribution made by the games industry which is set to be the driving force of media in the 21st century," he said.

"The UK has an international reputation for creating some of the very best games. Talented UK games professionals are at the heart of the global industry and are key to the financial success of many internationally renowned games companies both in the UK and abroad," he added.

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