Coronavirus creates remote working and financial challenges for the video games industry, says TIGA

TIGA, the trade association representing the games industry, has published a new report based on surveys which shows that while the video games industry is relatively resilient to the Coronavirus lockdown, over four fifths of games businesses regard remote working as a key challenge and over half expect their revenue to decline during the pandemic.

The report assesses the findings from TIGA’s ‘COVID-19; have your say’ survey, and an additional dataset comprised of general feedback from businesses over the coronavirus period. Overall, the report assesses the feedback from 55 businesses in the UK video games industry.

TIGA’s coronavirus survey revealed three principal findings.

  • Firstly, the vast majority (82%) of respondents identified remote working as a key challenge because of the associated issues involving the quality of the UK’s digital infrastructure and the impact upon productivity.
  • Secondly, over half (56%) of the respondents expect that their organisation’s income will decline during the coronavirus pandemic when compared to the previous financial year.
  • Thirdly, nearly four in five (78%) support the Government’s existing business support measures, but over half (56%) called for more financial support from Government. Specifically, businesses call for assistance with rent and business rates, improvements to, and quick processing of, Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) claims, and enhancements to the UK’s digital infrastructure.

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA said:

“TIGA’s Coronavirus Report shows that the video games industry is relatively resilient to the Coronavirus engendered lockdown in comparison to some other economic sectors. Games development is a digital sector and work can be undertaken and delivered remotely.

“However, the coronavirus pandemic has had negative effects on many studios. Games development is a collaborative process and remote working inevitably impacts upon this operation. Additionally, some games businesses have experienced financial challenges, including lost contracts, lost investment and diminished revenues.

“The UK Government can support the video games industry in three principal ways. Firstly, by continuing to provide financial support such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Bounce Back Loans Scheme and the HMT Future Fund (and accelerating Video Games Tax Relief claims). Secondly, by expanding the UK’s testing capacity so that employees can return to work with confidence. Thirdly, by continuing to enhance the UK’s digital infrastructure, including our broadband speeds, to ensure business resilience and effective remote working.”

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

“The video games industry and the wider creative industries sector are a huge contributor to UK GDP. Games development contributed over £1.8 billion towards GDP in the year to November 2018, as well as an estimated £747m in direct and indirect tax revenues to the Exchequer. Therefore, whilst TIGA warmly welcomes the support currently in place, as the UK begins to enter a period of ‘new normal’ it is vital that the industry continues to be supported in making the adjustments necessary to work safely and effectively. This is necessary to ensure that the industry continues to thrive and grow in the years ahead.”

The report can be viewed here: Impact of the Coronavirus on the UK video games industry – Thursday 21 May 2020


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