Computer game developers to get tax breaks

The Ministry of Culture is proposing tax breaks for developers of cultural computer games. Adam Ciereszko/PAP

With The Witcher one of the world’s most popular computer games, the government is looking to harness the medium’s popularity for the promotion of the country’s image at home and abroad.

To that end, the ministry of culture is proposing tax breaks for developers of cultural computer games which further “foreign promotion of Polish cultural content […] and a positive image of Poland.”

Before qualifying for a tax break, a game will be subject to a series of tests, examining its setting, protagonists, narrative and dialogue for the presence of elements of cultural or historical heritage, whether it uses original intellectual property, was produced mostly in Poland and using citizens of the European Economic Area (a grouping of the European Union with a few other countries that accept freedom of movement).

Culture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński is said to be pushing for the tax break since attending a presentation of games created by young developers thanks to funding from the state’s Industrial Development Agency (ARP) in July last year.

He told the daily Rzeczpospolita newspaper at the time: “I would like our young developers to be more daring in reaching for Polish cultural motifs.”

The minister also stressed that over 12 million consumers treat games as a source of not just entertainment but also enlightenment.

Poland accounts for roughly 0.5% of the world’s nearly USD 100 billion computer games market but exports exceed domestic consumption, unusually for a Polish creative industry: the domestic market accounted for a mere 5% of the 6 million copies sold of The Witcher, based on a series of fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski.

To date Poland’s computer games industry has received financial support from the European Union, as well as from the government’s sectoral programme worth PLN 500 million (EUR 117 million) over three years.