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UK Games Industry Returns to Growth

Posted by TurtleGirl On March - 18 - 2013

TIGA, published research today which showed that employment in the UK games development sector grew by 4 per cent in 2012, ending a three year decline in employment. Annual investment by studios rose from £411 million to £427 million between 2011 and 2012. The research is based on an extensive survey of UK games businesses, analysis by Games Investor Consulting, and published by TIGA in the forthcoming report Making Games in the UK Today.

tiga pic

IGA’s research shows that between 2011 and 2012:

- creative staff in studios grew from 8,888 to 9,224;
-  jobs indirectly supported by studios rose from 16,250 to 16,864;
- studio numbers rose from 329 to 448;
- direct/indirect tax revenues generated by the sector for the Treasury increased from £376 million to £400 million;
- annual investment by studios rose from £411 million to £427 million; and
- the sector’s contribution to UK Gross Domestic Product increased from £912 million to £947 million.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

The UK economy may be on the verge of a triple dip recession but the recovery in the UK games development sector has taken off. Employment, investment and start-ups are up. The games development industry is growing again.

The sector’s return to growth has been driven by three factors. Firstly, the increasing prevalence of mobile and tablet devices have created a growing market for games: studios are setting up to meet this demand. Secondly, the closure of big console based studios has been followed by an explosion of small start-up companies. Thirdly, the advent of Games Tax Relief, which TIGA was instrumental in achieving, is already stimulating growth. Games Tax Relief effectively reduces the cost of games development and it has contributed to inward investment by major international games companies including Activision Blizzard (The Blast Furnace), Gree (Gree UK), Konami (PES Productions) and Microsoft (Lift) in British studios in 2012. Jobs and investment in the games industry are set grow further once Games Tax Relief comes into effect from April 2013.

However, the UK games industry suffered badly during the last four years without Games Tax Relief: developer headcount and investment levels remain below the 2008 peak. Additionally, start-up studios are vulnerable. At least 21 per cent of start-ups in 2010 – 12 have already gone under.  Our challenge now – and TIGA’s top priority – is to help build sustainable independent games development and digital publishing businesses. TIGA will do this by delivering services that improve developers’ access to finance and which enhance their commercial skills.”

Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said:

“The UK games development sector is back on track.  Mobile and internet based gaming provide opportunities for growth; we have access to a highly skilled and creative workforce; and TIGA’s Games Tax Relief will give a further boost to employment and investment from April 2013. The UK has everything to play for.”

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