B.C. proposes credit for video game makers

Tax sweeteners fall short of film credits in Quebec, Ontario

TORONTO -- The British Columbia government has proposed a tax credit for video game developers, and hiked the rebate on labor costs for Los Angeles producers shooting locally.

But the tax sweeteners for film and TV producers failed to match the 25% all-spend film tax credits now on offer in Ontario and Quebec.

The province said it will introduce a B.C. interactive digital media tax credit of 17.5% on labor costs to develop video games in the province. That tax incentive will support Pixar, Electronic Arts and other major video game developers that have set up shop in Vancouver.

And the province raised its Production Services Tax Credit for foreign producers from 25% on qualifying labor expenditures to 33%. The changes, still to be voted on by the British Columbia legislature, aim to "keep B.C. at the forefront of the North American film and television industry, while providing a significant boost for video game production in our province," according to B.C. culture and arts minister Kevin Krueger.

The tax credit changes also come as Canadian provinces and American states increasingly play a game of one-upmanship to keep Hollywood producers shooting in their locales.

British Columbia is betting it doesn't have to match more generous film and TV tax credits in Ontario and Quebec for Vancouver to remain competitive as a production hub for Hollywood, given its proximity to California and familiarity Los Angeles producers have with its facilities.