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UK Tax Breaks For "Culturally British" Games 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the spot-o'-tea-with-your-rocket-launcher dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of a proposal in the recent Digital Britain report to set up tax breaks for developing video games that are "culturally British." Quoting the report (PDF): "In film a system of cultural tax credits has long helped to sustain a wide range of films that speak to a British narrative, rather than the cultural perspectives of Hollywood or multinational collaborations. Other countries such as Canada, for similar reasons, extend the model of cultural tax relief beyond the film industry to the interactive and online worlds. CGI, electronic games and simulation also have a significant role in Britain's digital content ecology and in our international competitiveness. Each of these has the same capability as the more traditional sectors, such as film, to engage us and reflect our cultural particularism. They may in future have a cultural relevance to rival that of film." Conservative Shadow Arts and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said the government has ignored the games industry, and he seeks to set up a government council to promote it. The report also outlined a number of changes to how games are rated.
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UK Tax Breaks For "Culturally British" Games

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  • by b00fhead (669286) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:02AM (#28370755) Journal

    To qualify, games must be written in Python.

  • by Tokerat (150341) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:08AM (#28370797) Journal

    Tea & Crumpets: The Game!

    Coming soon: Dodging Dentists 2

  • by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:11AM (#28370821) Homepage
    I think it's interesting that the tax breaks are for games with a British cultural setting, rather than simply being for British game development companies. I'm sure that a predominantly British development team will by its very nature develop games with a bit of a British bent to them.
    • I dunno, I can see how it could be done. Say, have the next The Sims expansion pack have tea and crumpets as a food, and have the sim run for the House Of Commons at the end of the politics career track :p

    • by master5o1 (1068594) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:16AM (#28370857) Homepage
      Hopefully British style humour would come under 'culturally British'
      • by Goffee71 (628501)
        More Monty Python games could be a good thing
        • So in the game one might come across a guard while on their quest for the Holy Grail. One might be able to:

          a) Shout incessantly, arguing about whether coconuts migrate.
          b) Discuss the physical limitations as to why a Swallow wouldn't be able to carry a coconut.
          c) Discuss whether it is an African or European Swallow carrying the coconut.
          d) Theorise whether it could be two Swallows carrying the coconut?
          e) All of the above?

          Hmm...I definitely shouldn't be making games, quizes, maybe, but games? Nope.
    • by SharpFang (651121)

      Because it's about promoting the British culture, not about helping out British industry.

      The games are to be tools of education/propaganda (depending on your viewpoint), promote the british values/(brainwash) and the fact the game was made in GB by the British, means nothing if it doesn't do what the government would like to see it do.

  • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:13AM (#28370833)
    "Wii British" series of games including:

    Pub Brawl

    Use you Wii-remote as either a beer glass or chair and attack as many fellow pub drinkers, as possible...

    Or

    Soccer riots:

    The worlds first multiplayer FPR (First person rioting) game....

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CmdrGravy (645153)

      Soccer riots ???

      I think you'll find you meant to say "Football"

      • I was taking into account Non-UK readers (who would probably moan that to them "football" is a game of wimpy men in padding trying to grab each others oddly shaped ball...)
    • by Canazza (1428553)

      Or a game like this: Games like this? [b3tards.com]

  • Hmmmm.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:21AM (#28370895)

    So making a map for a FPS where you trash the London subways instead of some other town's might qualify? Just curious...

    • by will_die (586523)
      Fallout 4:London Wasteland would be a great!
      On the bad side it could mean people duplicate games like Hellgate:london
      • When I heard "Hellgate:London" I thought "Huh? They're making a game about connecting in Heathrow now?"

    • by xaxa (988988)
    • Re:Hmmmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @08:05AM (#28372171)

      I don't think that's far from the truth.

      What people seem to be missing is that so many games out there right now are full of American culture, to the point they perhaps don't even realise it.

      A culturally British game may simply be a game like any other where you drive on the left hand side of the road and road signs are British, where accents are British, where things are spelt in a British way, where food is British (fish and chips!), where vehicles are those commonly driven in Britain, where you get chased by the met, SO19 or SOCA rather than the cops, SWAT or the FBI.

      This would differ from many current games where vehicles are often American, accents are American, food is American, laws are American and so on.

      People seem to be spinning this as some kind of racist point of view but quite the opposite, what they seem to be trying to do is bring more diversity to gaming and I don't think it's just the British that should do this. I actually like the idea of playing a game that's themed in a different way than the most common American style. In games where they have been themed in a different part of the world I have actually learnt something about those cultures in the process of playing through - even if it's just learning the name of a new type of food that's used as a health pickup in said game.

      Adding a bit of cultural diversity might actually allow kids playing these games to learn that there are other cultures out there than just the ones defined by game developers as the FBI chasing, burger eating games we have now that are often used by game developers to portray the American setting we're commonly handed.

      I can't help but think it might be quite fun to race round the streets of downtown bombay or whatever with a completely different style of everything from clothing to accents rather than driving round Manhattan etc. all the time. There is nothing wrong with your usual American stylised games, they in themselves are good - but a bit of a change wouldn't hurt now and again.

  • Oh good! I am glad that Ingsoc is finally instituting rewards for goodthink. How else are we going to protect our precious culture from such harmful influences as freedom of expression, creativity, and uncensored foreign broadcasts?

  • Xenophobia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mqduck (232646)

    I may well get modded to hell for this, but...

    With xenophobic/nationalist ways of looking at society like this - that $YOUR_NATIONAL_IDENTITY is under attack, threatened of being diluted into oblivion - being mainstream, it's a lot easier to understand how the rhetoric of the fascist British National Party - and its analogues elsewhere in Europe - could have appealed to so many voters in recent elections.

    • Having your own national identity is racist? Around the world, many people would find that comment insulting. Only in Britain could you expect such a comment to go unchallenged. Many people are proud of their cultural background.

      • by mqduck (232646)

        Having your own national identity is racist?

        Actually, you could make a case that nationalism is inseparable from racism... but that's not at all what I said.

        Only in Britain could you expect such a comment to go unchallenged.

        Which comment? Mine? I'm not British (though I'm ethnically British enough to join the BNP!) or in Britain.

        Many people are proud of their cultural background.

        Which is perfectly fine. When that extends to contempt for other cultures, or a desire to preserve the holy purity of your own, is when it becomes a problem.

        Of course, the real question is not *what* (culture), but *who* (are you trying to put down)?

        • Re:Xenophobia (Score:5, Interesting)

          by FourthAge (1377519) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:47AM (#28372049) Journal

          Your original post strongly implied that support for "British culture" was closely related to support for the BNP, which is incorrect.

          The case, "nationalism = racism" has come up before, and in England it is official policy, something which many English people find insulting. The Welsh and Scottish cultural history is celebrated and preserved, as are the cultures of recent immigrants, but the English are mischaracterised as racists if they show any national pride. For example, if you display the traditional St George flag (red cross on white background), people will tend to assume you are a BNP supporter. Display the Scottish flag and you're regarded as a proud Scotsman. It frustrates me that supposed "intellectuals" regard this as right and proper, never questioning the groupthink. Hence I try to challenge that attitude wherever I see it.

    • Hm... just because you say "I may well get modded to hell" doesn't mean you don't deserve it.

      Overreaction much? It's just a tax break to promote local art. Happens all the time in fields other than games, and it's done so that you don't have all your local talent chasing the international (biggest) market and genericising their content so that it's not interesting any more. This is xenaphobic how?

      • by mqduck (232646)

        Hm... just because you say "I may well get modded to hell" doesn't mean you don't deserve it.

        It was making a sincere point. My goal wasn't to incite anger, even if I knew I was risking it.

        Overreaction much? It's just a tax break to promote local art. ... This is xenaphobic how?

        It isn't necessarily, in the abstract. And perhaps I was implying that conclusion a bit too strongly with the subject line ("Xenophobia") I used. But, as I said in my other replies above, this has to be taken in context. In this case, you've got people in Britain advocating a narrative where their society is under attack by foreigners and, in particular, the non-British culture they bring with them. To quote mysel

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Inda (580031)
      I wish you hadn't used the word 'fascist'.

      The protesters, who are trying to outlaw the BNP, and their political ways, should be judged as fascists. Tell me that outlawing political parties, who recieved 2% of the vote, is not a starting step towards fascism.

      I can't stand the Labour government, but I would want being a member of the party to be a criminal offence.
      • by mqduck (232646)

        I wish you hadn't used the word 'fascist'.

        It's a whites-only party that grew out of the British neo-Nazi movement. It's fascist, period. Not being a resident of Britain, I have no opinion on whether the BNP should be outlawed or not, but my bias is against such an action.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          Unfortunately, some organisations already ban BNP membership (police, teachers etc). I hope that now they have another elected representative the other parties will deal with the issues they raise -- perhaps by explaining the benefits of EU membership and immigration.

          After the EU election the main politicians just said "oh, people voted BNP as a protest vote, they don't understand their policies". I know someone who voted BNP, and she won't be winning any awards for political awareness any time soon, but sh

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I've just read TFS again and yes, I was right, it does indeed say "culture". It makes no mention of national identity.
      I admire a whole lot of cultures, so why shouldn't I admire the good features of my own?
      But then someone has to come along don't they and judge it to be an insult against Britons with other cultural backgrounds (cultures, incidentally, that I admire just as much as mine, have no problem acknowledging, and which I don't demand merge with my own!).

      • by mqduck (232646)

        Well, Mr. O'Hitler, I believe I answered your question once or twice above, already. You're welcome to respond to that.

        • My response is I completely fail to see anything xenophobic about this particular subject, and I'm as vehemently anti-xenophobe as anyone you're likely to meet.
          But yes, I can see how newspapers like the Daily Mail might get hold of it and twist it into a xeno issue.

  • Corruption! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Goffee71 (628501) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:25AM (#28370931) Homepage
    Expense fiddling - the game
  • British (Score:5, Funny)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:28AM (#28370943)
    proposal in the recent Digital Britain report to set up tax breaks for developing video games that are culturally British.

    The Sims - Football Hooligans
    EA Sports Cricket 09
    Age Of Former Empires
    Tom Clancy's Surveillance Society
  • Some ideas (Score:5, Funny)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:41AM (#28371039)

    Bertie & Wooster: The Game. Go on a policeman helmet stealing rampage, do whatever your servant tells you to do while avoiding getting married.

    Battlefield: British Colonies. Take control of Africa and East Asia before France does! Beware of the native warriors, some throw very sharp slices of mango!

    Okay that's all I've got, help me out guys!

    • by clickety6 (141178) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:50AM (#28371449)

      Bertie & Wooster: The Game.

      The names are Jeeves and Wooster, you cultural philistine ;-)

      Bertie Wooster, or Bertram Wilberforce Wooster to give him his full name, was a single character.

      Having said that, what a great game that could be. As well as stealing the policeman's helmet you could have drive-by hat pinching, Bread Roll Cricket at the Drones Club , Aunt Avoidance, Cow Creamer stealing, Escape the Engagement, Gussie's Newt game, Glossop Hide-and-Seek, and so on...

      top-ho, wot! wot!

      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        The names are Jeeves and Wooster

        Oh yeah crap lol... My cloudy mind be damned!

  • As well as attempting to give the major record companies whatever they want until the end of time [today.com], Lord Carter's Digital Britain report includes tax breaks for "culturally British" computer game development.

    Planned games include Couch Warrior ("the goal is to sit playing a game. The graphics are truly horrifying and needed us to go to 3.5-dimensional to fit the player's avatar on the screen"), CCTV Panopticon ("take pictures of the CCTV cameras in your high street until arrested under the Terrorism Act for having your own camera in public"), Bottled Tan Snorter ("get into celebrity magazines and shag footballers, lose points for any sign of intelligence or words of two syllables") and Cynical Apathist ("write outraged blog comments with amusing satires of events of the day while working a job directly keeping the hideous machinery alive and running"). A committee will also form a group to do a study concerning a team to write a ZX Spectrum emulator for the iPhone.

    The games industry has warned in the past that developers are being lured away to other countries by the prospect of being paid more than shit. Conservative Shadow Arts Minister, Ed Vaizey, has leapt upon the opportunity, with promises of incentives for talented developers to stay in Britain and not be lured away by better pay in America. "We'll keep their passports from them until they reach 'Achievement Unlocked.'"

    Having finally released Digital Britain, Lord Carter has resigned from the government and is returning to private industry. "Of course, Digital Britain remains a completely objective assessment of the way forward for the nation in the twenty-first century, and should in no way be thought of as my CV for a series of lucrative consultancies with the large media companies I've just given everything they've ever asked for. And a pony."

  • by mattbee (17533) <matthew@bytemark.co.uk> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:03AM (#28371165) Homepage

    Coming this year:

    * Asbo of the Colossus
    * Big Brain City Academy
    * Turning Point: Fall of (civil) Liberties
    * Nintendogs (poodle edition)
    * Mario & Sonic in "Olympic overspend"
    * House Of The Red (-handed)

    (that's enough British games- ed)

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:07AM (#28371197)

    Wii binge drinking? Wii pint lifting?

    Bagpipe Hero?

    Or was the plan to play Wii Cricket (probably already exists?)?

    Also cool with new motion sensors: Ministry of Funny Walks - the game.

  • Pokemon snap is the most British game of all.

  • by kramulous (977841) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:32AM (#28371351)

    Now the world can experience sitting around sipping tea, losing cricket and whining about the shitty weather.

  • Mornington Crescent! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Obvius (779709)
    But would you use Trumpington's Rule Variations or the more accepted Tudor Court Rules?
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @07:50AM (#28372069) Journal

    I'm sure it'll only lead to only completely accurate portrays of true English culture, just like how America's Army does similar for the US army.

    So expect:

    - Restaurant Simulator - using entirely British food and cooking techniques; build a world-beating restaurant that makes Italians cry.
    - British Football 3D - play entirely respectful games of football winning with skill, but also good manners and complimenting the opponents to victory.
    - Railways on-line - improve an already perfect railway to be even more "perfecter". The more you make the French jealous, the more points you get.

    I can't wait!

  • Ultima (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @08:24AM (#28372305) Homepage Journal

    Dear Richard Garriot,

    Since there is a tax break for games that are culturally British, now is the time for you to quit screwing around on space stations, brow beat the rights to Ultima back, and Get Lord British and the Avatar kicking ass and taking names once again in Sorsia. RESSURECT ORIGIN PLEASE! I need a good Wing Commander game KTHX!

    We now return you to your regularlly scheduled M$ vs Linux /. flame war...

  • I'm sorry, but I can't think of "Culturally British Games" without expecting Monty Python cast members to be involved somewhere.

    How about Llamatron?

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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