Political campaigning group Games4EU, which champions the UK remaining in the European Union, has released a report on the potential impact of a hard or no-deal Brexit on the country's games industry.
G4EU's Brexit Guide for interactive entertainment warns against the “devastating effects” that a severe split from the European Union will have on video games, esports, XR and interactive broadcast.
Among concerns listed in the report is a considerable uncertainty and bureaucracy facing UK games companies. Compliance with international rules, regulations and laws may compel multinational companies based here to up sticks and head for the continent, it claims.
The paper also suggests that consumers face more expensive hardware and services - including consoles, physical games and software subscriptions. As companies move to catch up to legislation changes, some services may become wholly unavailable.
But even outside of these more concrete roadblocks, the paper laments a loss of cultural influence if the UK leaves the EU. The games industry relies a lot on the free movement of talent and ideas, which are “important to making interactive entertainment in the UK".
No time for no deal
As the report claims, the UK is the world’s fifth-largest games market, with a revenue value estimated at $6.6 billion (£5.11 billion). The country contains 2,261 companies of all sizes, employing more than 47,000 people.
“A no deal Brexit would be a disaster for interactive entertainment, a hard Brexit not much better, and we've been sleepwalking towards it since 2016,” said Games4EU co-founder Jas Purewal.
“The legal, regulatory and tax rules in areas like customs, VAT, data, immigration to name a few - this is the bedrock on which UK interactive entertainment was built.
“If the UK leaves the EU things will be far harder for us but there has been very little industry discussion and no guidance from key industry stakeholders so far.”
Fellow co-founder George Osborn added: "Our guide shows that a hard or no deal Brexit will disrupt and damage the British video games industry. Brexit offers no notable benefits to a sector already operating on a global stage and this means we must oppose it as fervently as possible while we still can.
“It is only a matter of weeks until Parliament takes part in the 'meaningful vote' that will set the shape of our relationship with Europe for decades to come. And it may only take a handful of votes to swing the vote one way or another.”
Games4EU’s Brexit guide is available in full here.
Brexit will surely be a hot topic for debate at Pocket Gamer Connects London on January 21st to 22nd. Stay tuned for the full schedule of topics to be released at a later date.