Home Gaming Turns out that Warner, SEGA and Sony have all been exploiting the UK’s Video Game Tax Relief fund

Turns out that Warner, SEGA and Sony have all been exploiting the UK’s Video Game Tax Relief fund

2 min read

The program that was set up in the UK to assist small-time developers has been reportedly abused by big publishers to avoid paying millions in tax.


Just a few months ago it came into the public knowledge that Rockstar Games, the developers of the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption franchises, among others, had been purposely exploiting the Video Game Tax Relief fund, claiming over £42 million dollars in tax relief and had avoided paying corporate tax for over ten years. It obviously led to quite a controversy as the VGTR is designed as a way to help out smaller development studios trying to break into the industry. The program rewarded development studies that promoted British culture and added to the British art cannon with tax rebates of up to 20% on certain costs to make their lives easier. Game development is a difficult, expensive job so developers that aren’t being backed by large publishers need all the help they can get.


With the news of Rockstar’s manipulation of the system breaking, people started looking more into the VGTR to determine who exactly it was benefitting the most. It seems, much to the shock of absolutely no-one, I’m sure, the companies benefitting from such a useful system are the ones that need it the least. An investigation by The Guardian has revealed that massive publishers have been exploiting the VGTR for millions of dollars. Sony has claimed almost £30 million in tax relief, Sega claiming £20 million and Warner Media claiming a whopping £60 million in tax rebates.


While these massive publishers were in the minority of those that claimed from the VGTR, their collective claims amounted to around 80% of the total funds allocated to the program. More than half the claims were under £50,000 so smaller developers are only getting to effectively pull from a maximum of £10 million out of the collective £324 million available.


It’s a sad but altogether unsurprising report that really highlights how unethical many of these massive corporations really are. A system that is meant to assist those trying to break into the industry is effectively just being used by those that are already established to rake in huge amounts of cash. The VGTR needs to take a closer look at exactly how these tax rebates are handled and implement a system that makes it harder for these companies to abuse the program that’s been put in place. Although whether that’s something that actually happens seems like a far-flung hope at this point.

Last Updated: October 3, 2019


  1. Admiral Chief

    October 3, 2019 at 14:58

    Flippen skelms!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. Admiral Chief

    October 3, 2019 at 14:58

    • HvR

      October 3, 2019 at 15:20

      My dogs and THREE pizzas last week, went to fetch a beer and the pack was having a pizza party in the backyard 42 seconds later.

      Fok die mal malteser het sommer helfte van die boks ook opgeeet.


  3. Admiral Chief

    October 3, 2019 at 14:58

  4. Captain JJ

    October 3, 2019 at 15:09

    God save the queen?


    • Hammersteyn

      October 3, 2019 at 15:20

      She fragged some noobs the other night… in an undisclosed country not COD mind.


  5. Hammersteyn

    October 3, 2019 at 15:20

    So people that may boycott Activision or any other sleazy AAA company still supports them via taxes? https://media2.giphy.com/media/3otPoC8r3YCoq2om2c/giphy.gif


    • Captain JJ

      October 3, 2019 at 15:20

      Not my taxes!
      Hold up…


  6. Original Heretic

    October 3, 2019 at 15:20

  7. For the Emperor!

    October 3, 2019 at 17:40

    “highlights how unethical many of these massive corporations really are” – yup. Capitalism without any conscience.


  8. HvR

    October 3, 2019 at 15:20

    Laws have been created without proper loophole checking and resources in place to stop abuse AND corporates exploited it

    O the shock and horror
    *sips coffee*


  9. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 3, 2019 at 16:11

    But why would they need to pay taxes? I didn’t realise they were making money. I’ve constantly been told for the last decade that games are sold too cheaply, are terribly expensive to make, and so all these big pubs are forced to put every kind of additional monetisation into the games just to make ends meet. Now we find out they’re gaming the system for millions in tax rebates? Gosh.


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