Major console games maker mulls a move from UK to Ireland

30 Sep 2009

Realtime Worlds, a maker of popular console games like Crackdown and the upcoming All Points Bulletin, is considering abandoning its Dundee base in favour of Dublin, where tax breaks could make it a better base for its 300 staff.

According to a report on popular games developer websiteDevelop Magazine, Scotland’s prowess as a games-development hub has been under threat due to the lack of sufficient tax breaks and as a result the sector has lost skilled labour to Canada where cities like Vancouver and Montreal offer tax incentives.

Realtime Worlds, whose team have contributed to legendary games such as Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto, has expressed an interest in moving its operation from Dundee to Dublin if tax incentives for games, animation and film industries that exist in Canada and Ireland aren’t introduced soon in the UK.

Ireland has also been developing a strong games-developer hub with international firms like Blizzard, Activision and Gala Networks located here, as well as a successful local community of technology firms, like firms Havok and Jolt Online.

The country has a 12.5pc tax break and is strategically close to the EU, factors that have attracted major IT giants from Intel, Google and Microsoft to IBM, Amazon and HP.

Unless tax breaks are introduced soon to Scotland, Realtime Worlds has threatened to move its 300-strong workforce to Dublin.

According to sources, there is mixed reaction to the news but a considerable number of Irish staff are cheered by the news.

At the time of writing no one at Realtime Worlds was available for comment.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The console game Crackdown, by Realtime Worlds.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years