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Tax breaks creating game development talent drain in the UK

The UK could have been a global leader in the world of computer game development, if economic conditions were different.

The UK could have been a global leader in the world of computer game development, if economic conditions were different.

This is the view of Rocksteady co-founder Sefton Hill, who believes that there has been a real "talent drain" in the UK gaming industry.

It started with programmers putting things together in their bedrooms, a scene which really exploded, but over time that talent has migrated elsewhere.

Canada is a particularly popular destination, thanks to the economic conditions offered by the government, which wants to see more firms in similar growth industries.

"A lot of my friends have moved abroad to get work; there's a real talent drain. Montreal is a central place for development and it's mainly because the tax breaks they give are so phenomenal," he said.

For now Mr Hill believes that the UK can "definitely" compete as an accomplished development centre, but it may not always be the case if things continue as they are.

"We have some of the best talent in the world in this country. That situation is rapidly changing ... We have great developers here but those numbers are dwindling," he explained.

"You just think about quality developers like Bizarre Creations, Black Rock - people who are making really good games and going out of business. Those guys were so talented so how can that happen?"

The expiration of existing tax breaks for game developers, which offered a 20 per cent refund on costs, has now effectively confirmed an EU-wide ban on tax breaks for such companies.

Ubisoft will be heavily impacted, and Heavy Rain studio Quantic Dreams is said to be the latest firm planning a move to Canada as a result.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801289170-ADNFCR