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Video Games

Games get government tax break in UK

Video games set or developed in the UK could qualify for tax relief if they meet a "Britishness test". More tea, Master Chief?

Grand Theft Auto V was developed in the UK. Rockstar Games

The British government has been given the go ahead to insert coin into the UK video games industry, pressing start on games with a distinct national flavour. Could we see a next-gen update for Grand Theft Auto: London 1969?

European trade watchdogs have approved measures to grant games set or developed in Britain up to 25 per cent tax relief on their costs, but only if they meet certain criteria. For example, Grand Theft Auto V , despite being developed by Scottish company Rockstar North, wouldn't qualify because it isn't set in Britain.

UK chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne announced the tax break in 2012 to come into force in 2013, but the European Commission was concerned the UK games industry was already doing well enough on its own, thank you very much. Now, however, the EC has finally concluded that the tax break won't distort competition as it will help "a small number of distinctive, culturally British games".

Like a new arrival in Britain answering questions about the battle of Marston Moor and the correct way to make tea in order to earn themselves a maroon passport, games must pass a Britishness test to qualify for a state leg-up.

Games win points towards relief if substantial sections are set in Blighty or in Europe, if characters have regional accents, or if UK citizens are involved in specific roles in creating the game.

The tax break comes into force in April. Major developers in the UK include Lionhead, Rare, Rocksteady, and Codemasters.

For more on this and other button-bashing gaming news and reviews of games from all over the world, check out our console-fondling compadres at GameSpot.

In the most recent budget, the government announced funding for other technology projects, including research into 'wonder material' graphene research and a big data research institute named after war hero Alan Turing.