What a great idea Brexit is, the greatest idea in the world! No deal is better than a bad deal! Easiest negotiation in history! It's like the emancipation of the slaves! There will be drinking water in the case of no deal! What is not to love about Brexit.
Inevitably, and as has been happening across every industry going, our European friends are watching this slow-motion car crash and thinking "we'll have a bit of that." Or in France's case, thinking "zees game developers are 'ow you say très sexy, non?"
In this spirit, Emanuel Macron's administration has launched a new campaign, Join the Game, which highlights the existing size of France's games industry and, much more importantly, promises a grab-bag of juicy tax breaks, subsidies and loans to developers that re-locate. It explicitly points out that, in the future, the UK will not make sense as a place for "European operations."
This campaign is not messing about. If you ask 'Why France?' then it lists a huge number of grants/tax credits/funds that offer state support for creators. If a company is even vaguely interested in the idea, then Monsieur Macron has a bunch of agencies dedicated to helping with the practical side of shifting.
Mon dieu! All one can say to our French brothers and sisters is: fair play old beans. If the UK's going to commit the economic equivalent of seppuku, that's on us, and it's not like the games industry has been quiet about it either. UKIE did a survey in 2017 which indicated 40 per cent of British game developers would consider re-locating in the event of a no deal Brexit (and 57 per cent of them employed EU workers). No less a grandee than Sir Ian Livingstone has come right out and said it'll be a disaster for the sector.
"[The industry] ticks all the right boxes for the knowledge economy – high skills, high tech, high growth, IP-creating, regional, digital, 80 per cent export in a global market worth $120bn per annum," Livingstone said last November. “By removing certainty and many of the existing benefits of EU membership, it is feared that Brexit will hinder the UK industry’s ambition to be the best in the world.”
Parliament generally is clueless about the games industry, nevermind the fact Brexit as an issue has completely paralysed it anyway. There'll be no co-ordinated UK government response to this and, whatever happens with the 'B' word, all we'll see is a little drip-drip of some of our country's best and brightest, whether it's France or elsewhere.
Welp, that's where the UK is in 2019. As my favourite anti-Brexit placard reads, "even Baldrick had a plan."