UK game devs angry with Canadian "vultures"

UK game developers are hitting out at Canadian game publishers, who are apparently attempting to Hoover up business from British game studios now that tax relief plans have been shelved.

Games dev site Develop reports that "mock" Canadian passports were given out at the GameHorizon conference last week. An anonymous attendee said the pack contained "all of the benefits of relocating your British business to Canada - all cheekily packaged as a Canadian passport." According to Develop, another anonymous games dev said "the Canadians are circling like vultures since the news broke that we aren't getting any tax breaks."

The passport-style marketing pack was produced by QuickStart Global, and apparently encouraged British studios to out-source work to Canadian companies in order to remain competitive. Last week, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick described Canada as a much more appealing place for investment in games than the UK, as games companies can receive 30 per cent tax relief on wages.

Speaking to Develop, QuickStart Global's CEO Neal Gandhi explained that current economic conditions meant "this rebate paid in cold hard cash can mean the difference between survival and failure. Or to put it another way, the difference between some jobs being retained in the UK or not."

Plans for games tax relief in the UK were included in the last Labour budget, but they've since been cancelled in a move the government claims will save up to £50 million a year.

In addition to the Canadian passport pack, Develop also claims UK games devs are concerned about a Canadian business that's apparently holding a "VIP Reception" at the Develop Conference in Brighton next week, with the goal of networking with execs from British studios.