Although I like to pride myself in saying that the majority of coding and digital output of Aphelio is done in Scotland and done to a specification feels unique to the country, Aphelio Limited is actually registered as a company in England.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, two of the three co-founders are English, so I was outvoted. Secondly, we weren’t entirely sure what the future held for tax breaks in the UK, and whether a vote of Independence in Scotland would render the now well-delayed plans from the UK government null-in-void.
Being based in Scotland & London (I refer to London as it’s own sovereign state because it might as well be given the way people talk about it) has it’s advantages as well as some disadvantages. The first advantage is that we’re able to interact with a larger spread of developers and bodies, than if we were position in one location. Most of these successful business interactions have come from London or just outside, but the best sort of community support and aid we’ve had has actually come from the Scotland.
As a country, Scotland is very well equipped to provide support for the Games Industry. We’ve had things like the much talked about Prototype Fund, as well as funding from Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, and advice and mentoring given by a variety of public bodies up and down the country.
From the spectator’s viewpoint, the quality of games that are being released now from companies and indies, as well as their quality has drastically increased. In 2010 I honestly felt like I was choosing to back an underdog, but firms are making good on their wishes to expand and do better. It just takes time and hard work. Even though there isn’t as much of a triple-A focus as there was before, I think it’s actually better to have such variety and diversity rather than pin our hopes in two or three companies.
London is huge. It’s got a ton of large companies there, strategically placed to take advantage of what the city has to offer. I’d be lying if I said having people in London didn’t give us an advantage as a start-up over a studio based solely in Perth for example. But the fact that we’ve managed to make the situation work for 9 months so far proves that it can work.
So lets talk about tax breaks. They should be coming, but of course that’s all up to approval from the EC now. Thanks…
In previous statements, the SNP has stated that it will seek to match whatever tax breaks are put in place by the UK government for the Games and Digital Industries, but a concern of mine is whether it will be as simple as copying and pasting everything over.
I’m not fully clued up on my facts, but an Independent Scotland would have to apply for it’s own EU membership, which is fine and fair in my opinion. Can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to keep us and our crude stuff out of any potential trade deals. However, given that the EC has decided to block the implementation of tax breaks UK-wide pending and investigation, even if they are allowed to pass (I think they will), would Scotland be granted a +1 ticket to implement the same plans as it’s own country?
Personally, I don’t see why now. If anything, I think there’s more of a case to have games tax breaks in Scotland than other parts of the UK. I think however that this would be a good question for the upcoming Cross Party Group on Video Games Technology. Something I’ll be sending them an email about if it doesn’t sound too stupid.
Another question we should ask ourselves as an industry is where do we stand on the logistics of a transition? Ukie and TIGA are after-all English based trade-bodies, although they have tried attempts to engage closer with developers north over the border.
Would Ukie and or TIGA be allowed/interested in continuing to try and engage with developers in Scotland, or would we fall out of their remit? It would be a shame if they did - I like Ukie…
Technically, we wouldn’t need any further lobbying in the House of Commons, that would shift to the Scottish Parliament, so who would do that here? I can’t think of any formal organizations in Scotland equipped to engage with the government as a representative of industry - but I can think of a few informal ones.
This is something we should definitely have a chat about. I don’t care if you’re against or for Independence in Scotland, but we should all agree that a strategy needs to be in place, otherwise we risk creating a rift between two capitals.