UK government's cultural test for tax breaks revealed, then thoroughly mocked by Twitter
As part of the draft Finance Bill for 2013, the UK government have unveiled the cultural test that games will have to pass in order to be eligible for a tax break. Games must receive 16 points from a selection of criteria, including how much of the game is set in Britain, how many of the main characters are British and whether the majority of development is taking place in the UK.
The exact distribution of points is expectedly convoluted. For example, four points are up for grabs if 75% of a game is set in the UK or another EEA state, scaling down to one point for only 25% set in the UK, EEA or an "undetermined location". Develop have helpfully listed the relevant passages from the 1074 page government document.
It's all rather bizarre and arbitrary, and in some circumstances unhelpfully unspecific. Four points are earmarked for "a British story or a story which relates to an EEA state," while a further four depend on "the percentage of the original dialogue that is recorded in the English language or in a recognised regional or minority language." Whatever that means.
Furthermore, four points can be awarded "in respect of the contribution of the video game to the promotion, development and enhancement of British culture." That means if a game includes tea and crumpets, right?
The silver lining to the dark cloud of clueless legislation is the spawning of the #UKTaxExemptGames hashtag, offering Brit-based puns on popular games. It's still early, but Sive Five's Dan Marshall has made my current favourite entry with Grimsby Fandango.