Delays To Games Tax Relief Costing UK Dear As Activision’s UK Studio The Blast Furnace Comes Under Threat Of Closure

Publish Date: Monday 3rd February 2014

Posted by Staff
TIGA, the trade association for the UK videogame industry, said today that Activision’s decision to begin an employee consultation process with The Blast Furnace’s 47 staff underlines the importance of the European Commission (EU) authorising the introduction of Games Tax Relief (GTR) in the UK at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Blast Furnace was set up in 2011 and brought in many highly experienced industry personnel from esteemed UK studios such as Team 17 and Rockstar. The studio has developed multiple high profile mobile titles including Call of Duty: Strike Team and Pitfall.

This latest development could reflect comments Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision made in 2010, when he called for tax breaks to be introduced by the UK Government and made it clear publishers looking to invest in the UK industry need further incentives to do so. Furthermore, Kotick and Activision welcomed the Governments decision in 2012 to provide tax breaks for the gaming sector as a move that “should put the UK in a stronger position.”

Thus it appears that the continued delays to the introduction of Games Tax Relief are having a detrimental effect on the health of the UK video game industry.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

“First and foremost we hope Activision will be able to keep the excellent team at The Blast Furnace together and keep the studio in operation.

“While a variety of factors are in play, and will determine the outcome of the consultation process, there can be no question Activision’s decision underlines once again the critical importance of and urgent need for Games Tax Relief for the UK video games industry. The UK has been competing on an un-level playing field with game developers in competing countries such as Canada and many states within the USA receiving significant tax breaks for games production.

“TIGA’s own research shows between 2008 and 2011, employment in the sector fell by over 10 per cent and investment by £48 million. The introduction of Games Tax Relief will reverse this decline.”

TIGA, the only trade association to have consistently campaigned for Games Tax Relief, convinced the UK Government to introduce the measure in April 2012. However, the decision by the EU Commission in April 2013 to launch a formal investigation into the case for Games Tax Relief has delayed the introduction of the measure and the sector specific benefits it would have delivered for the UK video games industry.

TIGA has provided important data and information to both the UK Government and directly to the EU Commission, justifying the case for Games Tax Relief. TIGA’s evidence shows that Games Tax Relief in the UK would support cultural products, is necessary and proportionate in design, and it achieves these results without distorting trade and competition within the EU. Despite the submission of this evidence, the EU Commission has still not indicated when Games Tax Relief will come into effect.

Dr Richard Wilson added:

“TIGA’s research shows the introduction of Games Tax Relief should generate and safeguard over 4,660 direct and indirect jobs; £188 million in investment expenditure by studios; increase the games development sector’s contribution to UK GDP by £283 million over five years and enable the production of culturally British video games. Yet all this additional investment, new jobs and new projects risk being jeopardised by the on-going delay.

“TIGA urges the UK Government to redouble its efforts to persuade the EU Commission to authorise the introduction of Games Tax Relief at the earliest possible opportunity.”


About TIGA
TIGA is the trade association representing the video game industry. We help developers and digital publishers build successful studios, network with the right people, save money and access professional business advice.

We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. Since 2010, TIGA has won 16 business awards.

TIGA focuses on three sets of activities:

· Political representation

· Media representation

· Business services

This enhances the competitiveness of our members by providing benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

It also means our members’ voices are heard in the corridors of power and positively represented in national, broadcast and UK video game trade media.

Get in touch:

Tel: 0845 468 2330



Twitter: @TIGAMovement



For further information, you can also contact:

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on: 07875 939 643, or email:

Drew Field, TIGA Communications Director on: 07720 643 344, or email: