Two days ago, Tax Watch published a report according to which Rockstar North is the biggest beneficiary of the tax relief program organized by the British government for game developers. Last year the company saved 38 million pounds thanks to the program, and 80 million pounds since the initiative was launched.
This information sparked some major controversy. Many people rightly claim that such a rich team should not be a beneficiary of such programmes. Especially since the reliefs granted to the studio amounted to 37% of all tax rebates granted to gamedevs last year. The initiative was initially intended to serve small companies whose games promote British culture. Rockstar North does not meet any of these criteria.
One thing that stirred emotions even further was the fact that another project has already been submitted to the program, which most probably is Grand Theft Auto VI. The case has become so loud that Rockstar North has been forced to make a comment. According to the team, its situation is proof of the success of the tax discount initiative. As the management explains, the discounts have created more than a thousand new jobs in the UK, which strongly serves the local economy.
The studio and the whole programme were also defended by the UKIE trade organisation. Here the explanations were similar. The Group has stressed that the discounts support 4320 highly qualified jobs and help maintain the UK as one of the leaders in the gaming industry. In addition, according to the organisation, each pound invested in the program brings a fourfold return to the local economy.
These explanation are unlikely to convince the critics, though. In the last ten years, Rockstar North has not paid a penny of tax, despite the fact that the estimated profits from the studio's games in 2013-2019 amounted to more than five billion dollars.
- Grand Theft Auto V - official website