France launches bid to poach UK games developers

The French government has launched a campaign to attract the UK games industry - which is deeply apprehensive about the effects of Brexit - to move to France. How would British gaming companies benefit?

Photograph of a female video gamer at her game console
The French government has launched a campaign aimed at getting the UK's highly successful video game developers to relocate across the Channel after Brexit. 

France offering substantial breaks to encourage UK firms to relocate

Led by France's Directorate General for Enterprise (DGE), the 'Join the Game' campaign is promising:
  • tax breaks on 30% of production costs up to €6 million a year;
  • a support fund offering subsidies for original work, “technically ambitious” prototypes and community events;
  • and an equity loan scheme offering loans up to €2 million, to be paid back contingent on company growth.
Join the Game website
“In only a few years, video games have become France’s second largest cultural industry, behind books and ahead of cinema. It is one of the most dynamic sectors in the French economy, with more than 5,000 direct jobs,” said the DGE."Having doubts about why setting up in France? Join the Game illustrates the French government’s commitment to offer foreign publishers and developers – studios and independents – opportunities to discover the optimal environment to excel."


According to a report in the Guardian: "The campaign is likely to have an appreciative audience among the British gaming industry, where concern about the impact of Brexit on access to talent, markets and funding is widespread."

40% of UK games developers pondering post-Brexit relocation 

In November, Ian Livingstone, the founder of Games Workshop, warned: “By removing certainty and many of the existing benefits of EU membership, it is feared that Brexit will hinder the UK industry’s ambition to be the best in the world.”A survey of British game developers in 2017 suggested that that more than 40 per cent of the nation’s companies were considering relocation because of Brexit.The industry body, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), says that 57% of UK games companies employ workers from the EU27 and that, at those companies, workers from the continent represent, on average, a third of all staff.Alex Calvin, editor of PC Games Insider, commented: "The future of the British games industry is still uncertain and largely depends on what the country's exit from the European Union looks like. One large factor is the free movement of people, due to the fact that computer science education in the UK was well below the standard set by other countries for many years."Though the island nation boasts video games talent arguably disproportionate to its size, much of the workforce is from other countries."Electronic Arts (EA), the UK company behind the hugely successful FIFA video soccer game, said it had made moves to safeguard its business but remained uncertain about the impact of Brexit."Brexit has caused economic and legal uncertainty in the region and may result in macroeconomic conditions that adversely affect our business," EA said."In addition, evolving immigration rules and trade regimes could negatively impact our business. We have taken precautionary measures with respect to these matters, in relation to Brexit and otherwise, but given the significant uncertainty, our precautions may not be adequate."

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