English parliament worried about Scottish games industry

A government committee of the Queen’s Parliament of Westminster is looking at a very real threat of invasion by unemployed developers from Scotland.

England has not had to worry about a serious threat of anything Scottish since the Highland Clearances, but there is some concern about what has been happening to the gaming industry over the border.

Last month Dundee APB and Crackdown developer Realtime Worlds went into administration, costing hundreds of area jobs, Before that there were fears that unless there were some forms of subsidies computer game developers across the border would starve. As it was they worked for pennies, a bowl of porridge and the odd herring.

The Tories should be frightened – the traditional way the Scots have of dealing with a famine or unemployment is to burn Berwick and raid York.

UK Labour party leadership candidate Ed Balls said the whole thing was madness, particularly as the new government had cut incentive programs to the Scottish-based games industry which had been promised in March.

The Tory government has indicated that it is concerned about the plight of Scotland, but feels that they should, more than anyone, understand a penny saved is a penny gained.

Besides, they could point out Realtime was a well-funded operation that went tits up because it spent too much cash on an online action game – APB – which failed to interest anyone.

Incentives would not have stopped that happening, but they might have drawn a sharper games developer to the region.

After all few companies are going to want to move to Scotland for the weather. Many Americans cannot manage the language and the Europeans can’t eat the food.

Members of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee are travelling to Dundee for talks with key figures in the Scottish gaming industry.

They are going to look at whether the sector needs more support following the UK government’s decision to scrap tax breaks.

On the agenda is a visit to the University of Abertay, where a new £5m project to generate 30 new companies, support 80 existing smaller firms and create up to 400 new jobs is being drawn up.

Labour MP for Glasgow south-west, Ian Davidson, who chairs the Scottish Affairs Committee, said  he was “extremely concerned” about the impact of the decision to abolish tax relief for the industry.

He is worried that the Scottish developers facing a “light purse makes a heavy heart” syndrome could simply migrate to other parts of the world taking their brains and claymores with them.

According to the BBC, Committee members will tour Abertay University and hear from computer game lecturers on the campus and a range of industry representatives about the state of the industry.

However, even if the committee does recommend that the Government does something to help the Scottish games industry, any ideas will have to get past the Treasury. There is a Scottish saying that “He that lives upon hope has a slim diet.” Cheery lot, the Scots.