Mobile Gold Rush Subsides but Remains Most Popular Platform for UK Studios

By February 14, 2018 Press Releases

TIGA, the network for video games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, today released new data showing that while the largest proportion of UK studios made games for mobile, studios focused on console and pc games employed the most development staff in the UK.

In the year ending November 2017, 45 per cent of UK studios were primarily focused on mobile platforms, but employed just 21 per cent of development staff. Conversely, 35 per cent were focused mainly on PC and employed 27 per cent of development staff. 14 per cent of studios were focused on console, but these studios employed the lion’s share of the development workforce (47 per cent). TIGA released the following information from its forthcoming annual report into the state of the UK video games industry Making Games in the UK Today: 2018.

  • 45 per cent of UK studios were primarily focused on the mobile platform category in 2017 (down from 49 per cent in 2013 and 48 per cent in 2014 and 46 per cent in 2016).
  • PC (comprising retail and online PC games, social network games and massively multiplayer online games) was the primary platform category of choice for 35 per cent of UK studios (compared to 36 per cent in 2016, 37 per cent in 2014 and 34 per cent in 2013).
  • Interest in console platforms (comprising console and handheld retail and download categories) remains mostly confined to larger studios with almost 14 per cent of UK studios focused on developing for console and handheld platforms (compared to 14 per cent in 2016, 13 per cent in 2014, 16 per cent in 2013 and 23 per cent in 2012).
  • The console category remains the largest employer of development staff by far, representing 47 per cent of developer and publisher studios’ creative staff. PC accounts for 27 per cent of development staff, while mobile represents 21 per cent of the workforce. Console’s dominance of development staff numbers reflects the UK’s long and successful history as one of the leading console games development nations, new opportunities as consoles upgrade or launch mid-cycle and the substantially higher average budgets and team sizes necessary for console games development.
  • The fastest growing new games categories once again are virtual reality (VR) and augmented/mixed reality (AR) with 37 development companies (5% of studios), up from 20 studios in March 2016.

TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson, OBE, said:

“Mobile remains the most popular platform for UK games studios, but the gold rush has ebbed. The proportion of UK development studios focused primarily on this category fell from 49 per cent in 2013 to 45 per cent in 2017, the fourth consecutive annual fall.

“PC remains in second place, with 36 per cent of studios adopting it as their primary platform choice. There has been a flourishing of PC studios in the last few years, primarily driven by opportunities to self-publish on Steam.

“14 per cent of UK studios are focused mainly on console development. This category remains the largest employer of development staff by a long distance, employing nearly half of all UK development staff. This confirms the UK’s well established reputation as one of the leading console games development nations and the significantly higher resources and teams required for console games development.

“Virtual and Augmented Reality is the fastest growing games category for studios by number, for the second year running, and we expect Augmented Reality, in particular, to become more important in the coming year.”

Jason Kingsley OBE, CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, which develops games for mobile, PC, console and VR platforms, commented:

 “Mobile is a popular platform for many start-ups because it is relatively easier to start making games in comparison to console and PC. However, it is often harder to generate revenue and so create a stable business in mobile, especially in the free to play arena. The challenge for many mobile studios is to grow and to transition from one platform to another.”




Notes to editors


Research methodology

Games Investor Consulting (GIC) continuously maintains a database of all extant, closed and exiting British games companies. Between September-November 2017, TIGA and GIC conducted an email and telephone survey of British games companies involved in the development of games including studios, publishers, service companies and broadcasters with games divisions. Distribution, manufacturing, peripheral device, marketing and retail companies were not profiled. Companies were asked how many staff worked full time in development. HR, admin, sales, marketing and commercial staff were excluded. 566 companies responded or publish up to date data on headcount, representing 70% of the UK’s total headcount. Estimates for the remaining companies were established by desk research from a variety of other public data and GIC sources. GIC takes the latest data on development headcount to scale total development expenditure, and then uses Oxford Economics’ calculations from their report, “The economic contribution of the UK Games Development industry”, to establish estimates of the development industry’s GDP and tax impact.


About TIGA
TIGA is the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry. Since 2010, TIGA has won 24 business awards and commendations and has been successfully accredited as an Investors in People organisation three times. TIGA focuses on three sets of activities:

  • Political representation
  • Media representation
  • Business services

This enhances the competitiveness of our members by providing benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities. It also means our members’ voices are heard in the corridors of power and positively represented in national, broadcast and UK video games trade media.
Get in touch:
Tel: 0845 468 2330
For further information, you can also contact:  Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO by email:


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