The UK video games industry could face a ‘brain drain’ as programmers are tempted abroad by higher salaries and tax incentives, according to new research by consultants, Procorre.

The study revealed that only 20% of all online gaming job advertisements aimed at UK programmers are for positions actually in the UK, with over half based in North America.

26% of the jobs were based in mainland Europe.

Lisa Mangan, relationship manager at Pricorre, said:

“The danger for the UK games industry and for the wider UK economy is that many of the best and brightest will be recruited by overseas firms who may have deeper pockets and be prepared to pay more.

“The computer games industry makes a significant contribution to the UK economy and the Government is right to do everything it can to encourage these and other specialist IT consultants to remain in the UK.”

In the US, regulations on online betting have been gradually relaxing, opening up the market for recruiting more online gambling programmers.

Meanwhile, Canada offers favourable tax breaks and refundable tax credits to emigrating British programmers who move to gaming companies Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Limited tax breaks were introduced by the European Commission this month allowing up to 25% off production costs for a game set in the UK, with UK characters, developed by a UK-based team.

Photo by Paul Lowry