Cultural Test

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Getting started

BFI Cultural test for video games

To apply for the cultural test, there must be one video games development company (VGDC) that is registered with Companies House and within the UK corporation tax net. The VGDC must be set up before development/design work begins and have responsibility for all aspects of the video game making process from design and development through to testing and delivery.

The cultural test is a points-based test where the project needs 16 of a possible 31 points to pass. It comprises four sections:

  • Cultural content (up to 16 points)
  • Cultural contribution (up to 4 points)
  • Cultural hubs (up to 3 points)
  • Cultural practitioners (up to 8 points)

Summary of points for Cultural Test

Section A

Cultural Content
A1 Set in the UK or an EEA state or (Up to 3 points will be awarded for set in an undetermined location)
A2 Lead characters British or EEA citizens or residents (or characters from an undetermined location)
A3 Video game based on British subject matter or relates to an EEA state or underlying material
A4 Original dialogue recorded mainly in English language or one of six UK indigenous languages

Section B – Cultural contribution

Cultural Contribution
B Video game represents/reflects British creativity, British heritage or diversity

Section C – Cultural hubs

Cultural hubs
C1 At least 50% of the conceptual development or storyboarding or programming or design takes place in the UK
C2 At least 50% of the music recording or audio production or voice recording takes place in the UK

Section D – Personnel

D1 1 of the 3 lead project leaders is an EEA citizen or resident
D2 1 of the 3 lead scriptwriters is an EEA citizen or resident
D3 1 of the 3 lead composers is an EEA citizen or resident
D4 1 of the 3 lead artists is an EEA citizen or resident
D5 1 of the 3 lead programmers is an EEA citizen or resident
D6 1 of the 3 lead designers is an EEA citizen or resident
D7 At least 1 of the 7 key HoDs is an EEA citizen or resident
D8 At least 50% of the development team are EEA citizens or residents

What else is needed?

Applications can be made for an Interim certificate or a Final certificate

Applicants can apply for interim certification at any point before or during development and production. Interim certification is essential if you wish to claim video game tax relief during development. The Interim certificate will be valid for three years, beginning on the date specified on the certificate.

A final application must be submitted once the video game is complete; applications for a final certificate should therefore not be submitted prior to completion of a video game. A video game is completed when it is first in a form in which it can reasonably be regarded as ready to be made available to the general public.

Making an application

An application is made via an online form. MMP will assist you with this process

A hard copy statutory declaration must be completed in conjunction with a printed copy of the online application form as part of the supporting documents required. MMP will set up the correct documentation and packs ready for you to check and sign as part of our service.

Supporting documentation

A printed hardcopy of the full application with a completed statutory declaration must be sent to the BFI in order for them to assess the application.

The BFI requires additional supporting material to complete its assessment of your application. The following documents are requested and can be attached to your online application form:

  • Video game scripts or equivalent (if applicable) to demonstrate language and content.
  • Complete treatment, game design documents or synopsis of the video game.
  • Visual material such as screenshots, gameplay footage, storyboards or concept art.
  • Video game schedule/production schedule.
  • Production budget (interim)/final cost report (final) – the most up-to-date copy of the total long-form budget.
  • A copy of the chain of title (e.g. writer’s agreement or equivalent documents) – the most up-to-date copy (only if applying for points under section A3(b) to demonstrate the video game is written by a British/EEA citizen or resident).
  • If you are applying for final certification a final version of the finished project is required and a hard copy of the accountant’s report if points are being applied for in sections C and D.