The UK Games Industry: Young, Independent and Mobile
TIGA, the network representing games developers and digital publishers, released new research today which showed that the UK games development sector is increasingly made up of young, independent studios making games for mobile and tablet devices.
The research is based on an extensive survey of UK games businesses and published by TIGA in Making Games in the UK Today: A Census of the UK Developer and Digital Publishing Sector (April 2013).
- 338 studios started up between 2008 and 2012;
- over half of the games companies in the UK started up in the last four years;
- the UK games development sector is increasingly made up of independent studios - 83 per cent of all studios that started up in 2011 and 2012 are independent (as opposed to publisher owned);
- 37 per cent of all UK studios are now primarily focused on mobile - up from 19 per cent in 2010. For studios founded between 2011 and 2012, this figure rises to 53 per cent.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:
"The UK games development sector is young, independent and mobile. Over half of the studios in the UK started up in the last four years. The overwhelming majority of the UK's studios are independent: there are 34 publisher studios and 414 independent studios. Increasingly studios' preferred platform for games is mobile and tablet: almost two-fifths of the UK studio population now primarily make games for these platforms.
"The attraction of the mobile and tablet market to UK developers is clear. The mobile and tablet market is substantial and growing: sales of smartphones are expected to hit 1 billion globally in 2013. There are few barriers to entry in the mobile and tablet market, the cost of game development on these platforms is relatively low and it is comparatively straightforward for developers to update game content.
"The crucial policy requirement now is for Games Tax Relief to be implemented as soon as possible. Although Games Tax Relief has not yet received State Aid clearance from the EU Commission, TIGA has been assured that the UK Government will be legislating for this Relief in the current Finance Bill. This is vitally important. Many start-up studios fail to endure, partly because of limited access to finance. Games Tax Relief effectively reduces the cost of games production, improves access to capital and will stimulate the production of culturally British games. This will benefit many young, independent and mobile games studios."
TIGA member Shaun Rutland, CEO of London based Hutch, creator of the game Smash Cops, with over 10m downloads, said:
"TIGA's research shows that the UK games sector is shifting rapidly towards mobile and tablet games development. Smartphone and tablet gaming presents the greatest opportunities and our own experience at Hutch shows that the right game and business model can be extremely successful in this market."
TIGA member David Bozward, CEO of Birmingham based Dojit Ltd, said:
"This is an amazing time for developing mobile games with the expansion of the global industry in terms of customers, the announcement of new UK tax breaks for video games and a vibrant development community in the UK. We see over 60 per cent of our players from China, with another 30 countries downloading our games and with many of these engaging with us via our social media channels."
Oli Christie, CEO of Cirencester based Neon Play and TIGA board member, said:
"Now is an incredibly exciting time to be an independent developer in the mobile space. Neon Play started in my kitchen three years ago and we've had nearly 50 million downloads since. Being independent is a lot of fun and small creative games studios can have huge financial success, even though it is getting more competitive each year, so there are no guarantees. Now is the time to get going, so I would heartily encourage people to take the plunge and enjoy the ride."