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UK Tax Breaks For "Culturally British" Games 267

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 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.
  • Xenophobia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduck@ m q d u c k . n et> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:25AM (#28370923)

    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.

  • by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @04:49AM (#28371093)

    what's culturally british?

    Binge drinking.

  • what's culturally british? ruling at the barrel of a gun for a century, poaching wildlife to extinction, or collapsing stable democracies so that you can rape a country of its natural resources?

    Don't forget that the ethnic cleansing, the genocide, the slavery, the wars started solely to gain political favour at home, the systematic disregard for human life (not just abroad, either), and the levels of bigotry that make the KKK look liberal. We also have the dubious distinction of being the inventors of the concentration camp. The British Empire was not a nice place and the world is better without it. (Not that the other colonial powers were any better, of course.)

    I don't think people like the BNP who keep going on about the erosion of British values actually know what those values are.

  • by mike2R ( 721965 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @05:40AM (#28371397)

    what's culturally british? ruling at the barrel of a gun for a century, poaching wildlife to extinction, or collapsing stable democracies so that you can rape a country of its natural resources?

    Not distinctive enough. That could be American, or Spanish, or Roman or...

    No, culturally British means "badly done cockney accents, in rubbish games that only see the light of day due to my tax money being used to subsidise them."

    You heard it here first.

  • Re:Xenophobia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:34AM (#28371641) Journal
    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.
  • Re:Xenophobia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Godwin O'Hitler ( 205945 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @06:43AM (#28371689) Journal

    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!).

  • 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.

  • by paeanblack ( 191171 ) on Thursday June 18, 2009 @10:54AM (#28374137)

    Yup a language invented by Dutch guy living in the US, can't get much more British than that can we?

    Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for A Belgian beer, then traveling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV.

    And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.