Game on: call for tax relief for Irish games industry

8 Mar 2016

Designing the Silicon Arcade of Europe: 4th year Game Design students, Tommaso Marenzi and Sean O'Connor

The creativity involved in creating video games requires just as much talent as making movies or TV shows and, for this reason, Ireland needs to draw up similar tax relief and incentives to support the young sector, the organisers of Games Fleadh 2016 have urged.

Globally, the video games industry is worth more than $82bn a year, and is surpassing Hollywood in terms of revenues that can be achieved.

Yet, unlike the Oscar-winning film industry in Ireland, the games sector gets little material support.

Future Human

Creating a video game requires not only coding but also creative ingredients like writing, art, music and, of course, entrepreneurship.

However, according to Dr Liam Noonan of Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), there are currently no supports available to young game creators.

‘Investment tax relief schemes in the game design and development sector are needed to encourage more entrepreneurship and the creation of Irish jobs’

“We do need to level the playing field and encourage investment in this creative innovative space, this industry is no different to the movie or TV sector as it is creative and dynamic and risk-taking is involved. Investment tax relief schemes in the game design and development sector are needed to encourage more entrepreneurship and the creation of Irish jobs,” Dr Noonan said.

Strong growth in Ireland’s games industry

He pointed to the fact that there has been strong growth recorded in the sector, including jobs announcements from EA and Black Shamrock, as well as the relocation from Silicon Valley to Galway of Romero Games.

“This high-profile move to Ireland by John and Brenda Romero whose title credits include Doom, Dangerous Dave, Quake, Wizardry and The Mechanic is the Message is an endorsement of the potential of this sector to develop. EA have continued to grow their presence in Galway and with the addition of their QA team are creating job opportunities for Irish game developer graduates. The recent establishment of the Irish game makers association Imirt lends further evidence to the growth and optimism in this sector,” Dr Noonan added.

John and Brenda Romero will be speaking in Dublin this summer when they take part in Inspirefest 2016.

Games Fleadh 2016 will take place tomorrow (9 March) at the LIT campus in Thurles and will include an all-island games design and development competition for third level students.

The Fleadh is supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games, Ubisoft and the Irish Computer Society.

The 13th annual Games Fleadh will also feature the Game Studio Tower Defence competition and Robocode.

Updated 2.20pm, 9 March 2016: This story was updated to reflect that Zenimax has would down its operations in Galway.

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