Friday, November 23, 2007

They don't call it 'priming the pump' for nothin'

There's been a lot of linking to Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack's comments (and subsequent clarification) about the Quebec government's subsidies of game development companies. The clarification was that by labelling them 'insane', he meant 'better than good'.

He still maintains, though, that the subsidies are not maintainable in the long term.

I think he's missing the point. The point was to prime the pump and jump start an industry hot-bed. They've absolutely done so. Now that they have, if the subsidies were to go away, it's not like Ubi and the others would just pack up and leave, would they? There's a local dev community, an infrastructure of schools producing new talent, etc.

I don't think they were ever meant to be sustainable.

There's an argument that they are sustainable (if the delta in growth, new jobs, the taxes those people pay, etc, are enough to fund the subsidies), but that's beside the point.


Anonymous said...


Not to be a nay-sayer, but the loss of subsidies could very well cause companies to concentrate efforts in more business friendly environments, as Quebec is not friendly (as in, it is unfriendly and difficult to do business in) without the economic incentive.

Moving businesses that are not connected to a local supply chain and physical plant is easy, and before you go - but, but! what about the local talent supply chain synergy - the talent supply chain investment cannot trump the local tax structure if it is too much of a burden. Profitability rules, and more profitability is better. This is why they are there in the first place.

Of course, Quebec will likely maintain some level of subsidy... it is called keeping your head above the water you just primed the pump with....

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