Dublin could become the game development capital of Europe, given the right tax incentives, according to Popcap Games general manager Paul Breslin.
Mr Breslin was speaking at yesterday’s first ever Games Ireland industry gathering, hosted before a capacity audience in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. Subtitled Gig 2012, the Games Ireland event brought together some of Ireland’s most ambitious game development firms.
“The Irish games industry is going phenomenally well,” said Mr Breslin. “Ireland is really punching above its weight in the area.”
Mr Breslin said that the growth in Irish gaming had been as a direct result of the market for casual games played on Facebook via phones and PCs taking off.
He recommended that the Government copy the model in Ontario, Canada, where tax incentives had created a gaming industry employing more than 100,000 people.
Mr Breslin said that the future of gaming in Europe was far from secure. He said that, to date, no European games capital had emerged. With the correct research and development tax incentives, Dublin could capture the European gaming market, but said the Government needs to move quickly.
Popcap Games came to Ireland six years ago, when the gaming industry was only beginning to take off here. At the time, Mr Breslin said it was hard to find the talent that they needed to staff their games development studio.
Popcap Games has since partnered with Trinity College, Carlow IT, Dublin City University and Dublin Institute of Technology to take students in on a six-month work placement. After they have finished their placement, the students complete a further year in college after which Popcap usually hires them. In the last year, Popcap’s games development studio in Dublin has gone from 45 employees to 80.
Popcap and Big Fish games were both looking to hire new staff members at the Games Ireland event. Big Fish vice-president of business development Will O’Brien said that Big Fish were looking to fill 30 positions at the gathering as well as meet new and exciting Irish games developers.
“Big Fish launch a new game everyday on the PC and Mac” said Mr O’Brien. “In order to create that kind of velocity we work with over 500 developers. We’re looking to meet new and exciting game developers.”
The Games Ireland event held a number of expert panel talks, including: “The Business of Games — How Does Today’s Industry Click?”, “Games Development in Ireland and the Games Incentive Package”, “The Cloud — What’s the Forecast for cloud gaming”, and “Going SoLoMo! — Opportunities in Social, Locational and Mobile”.
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