Your game must pass the British Film Institute’s (BFI) ‘cultural test’ in order to claim VGTR – an interesting addition to the expected set of tax relief requirements. This test determines if your game can be certified ‘British’. It has 4 sections:
- Cultural Content: setting, characters, subject matter and dialogue of your game. This section is the most heavily weighted in terms of points – maximum of 16.
- Cultural Contribution: how well British diversity, heritage or creativity is represented in your game. Maximum of 4 points available.
- Cultural Hubs: how many of the elements of development, design, programming, recording are being done in the UK. Maximum of 3 points available.
- Cultural Practitioners: how many of your staff, in a variety of roles, are citizens or residents of the EEA. Maximum of 8 points available.
To pass the test, your game must get 16 of the 31 available points. It must also be able to receive the PEGI age rating to get the certificate.
Games are often set in imaginary worlds and this does not negatively impact your chances of passing. However, if you do not have characters in your game, more investigation and discussion with the BFI will probably be necessary.
There are two different certificates and you do need to apply for both at the relevant time. The Interim Certificate is crucial to your application for VGTR and can be applied for any time before or during your video game’s development process. It is valid for 3 years from the date of issue. You can apply for the Final Certificate when your game is finished and ready for public viewing.
The forms are online and there is a lot of other information about which supporting documents you need to supply to the BFI so they can administer your game’s cultural test. This includes scripts, visuals and an accountant’s report and any incomplete applications delay the issuing of your ‘British’ certificate. If everything is present and correct, it usually only takes the BFI a month to process your game’s test and issue your certificate if you are successful.