UK Games Industry Returns to Growth

By March 18, 2013Press Releases

TIGA, thetrade association representing the games industry, 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. A Census of the UK Developer and Digital Publishing
Sector (March 2013). 

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: 
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.”      

Notes to editors:

TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s
games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games
developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have games
publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities
amongst our membership. Since 2010, TIGA has won 14 business
awards and has been nominated a finalist for 16 other awards.   

TIGA's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games
business.  We focus on three sets of activities: political representation,
generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the
competitiveness of our members.  This means that TIGA members are
effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the
media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their
businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial

For further information, please contact Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on:
07875 939 643, or email: