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UK game developers to get tax breaks for meeting criteria on a 'cultural test'

Video game developers in the UK can now measure themselves against a "cultural test," in which they must meet certain criteria in order to receive tax breaks, according to details shared by the country's government today.

A game must score at least 16 points on the test in order for the studio to be eligible for tax relief. Examples of positive scoring include four points if 75 percent of a game is set in the UK or another state in the European Economic Area (EEA) and three points if only 66 percent takes place in these locations. Points are also awarded for the number of British characters in the game, the game telling a British story or one relating to the country and in-game promotion of British cultural awareness.

Points can be awarded for British natives serving in certain staff positions, including artists, composers, designers, department heads, project leaders, programmers and scriptwriters. Points are also given for these "qualifying persons" making up at least 50 percent of a studio's staff.

Production tax relief is set at 25 percent for all UK developers, and there is no minimum budget games must meet to qualify. The UK government also recognizes that production extends beyond a title's release date, with newer business models factoring in production for additional downloadable content and ongoing post-launch costs.

A full list of the criteria can be found on the UK's Economics and Finance Ministry website.