Mobile games challenged by rising PC upstart
TIGA, the network for video games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the UK video games industry, today released new data showing that while mobile remains the most popular platform for UK video games developers, PC gained significant steam in 2014. TIGA released the following information from its annual report into the state of the UK video games industry Making Games in the UK Today: June 2015.
- 48 per cent of UK studios were primarily focused on the mobile platform category in 2014 (down from 49 per cent in 2013). This is the first decline for four years and can, in large part, be attributed to the growing popularity of PC games development.
- PC (comprising retail and online PC games, social network games and massively multiplayer online games) was the primary platform category of choice for 37 per cent of UK studios, up from 34 per cent in 2013.
- The shift towards PC looks like continuing as 52 per cent of new games companies in 2014 were focused on PC versus 35 per cent on mobile.
- Console platforms (comprising console and handheld retail and download categories) were the primary focus of 13 per cent of UK development studios (down from 16 per cent in 2013 and 23 per cent in 2012). Yet the success of the new generation of consoles represents a great opportunity for UK console development studios: from their launches in November 2013 to the end of 2014, an estimated 18.5m PlayStation 4s and 11m Xbox Ones had been sold. Significantly, the console category remains the largest employer of UK developers by far (representing 50 per cent of UK development staff). This reflects the UK’s long and successful history as one of the leading console games development nations and the substantially higher average budgets and team sizes necessary for console games development.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:
“While mobile remains the most popular platform for UK games studios, the tide of popularity for mobile and tablet games development ebbed slightly in 2014. The proportion of UK development studios focused primarily on this category slipped from 49 per cent in 2013 to 48 per cent in 2014 after four years of solid growth.
“PC, in contrast, gained steam in 2014, with 37 per cent of studios adopting it as their primary platform choice up from 34 per cent in 2013. This appears to have been fuelled by two major changes. A number of developers have refocused away from mobile to PC, perceiving the latter to be a less competitive market. Also, PC has overtaken mobile as the platform of choice for new market entrants with 52 per cent of new games companies in 2014 focused on PC versus 35 per cent focused on mobile.
“Although consoles are now the primary focus of just 13 per cent of UK studios, as in previous years, the console category remains the largest employer of developers by far, employing 50 per cent of UK development staff. This reflects the UK’s long and successful history as one of the leading console games development nations and the substantially higher average budgets and team sizes necessary for console games development. The popularity of the major new consoles, launched by Sony and Microsoft in late 2013, represents a major opportunity for the UK games development industry, as does attracting global publishers to invest in British games development.”
Notes to editors
The data used in Making Games in the UK Today: May 2015 is the product of six censuses undertaken over the last seven years. Games Investor Consulting conducted four censuses concluding in July 2008, September 2010, November 2011, December 2013 of all known British games companies (including developers, publishers, publisher studios, service companies and broadcasters with games divisions) by telephone and email, asking as many as possible extant studios for their development headcounts (excluding HR, admin, sales, marketing and commercial staff), growth expectations and freelancer count / usage. GIC conducted similar censuses concluding in December 2012 and, most recently, December 2014 in conjunction with TIGA and third party researchers. Distribution, manufacturing, peripheral device, marketing and retail companies were not profiled.
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 trade association representing the UK video game industry. We help developers and digital publishers build successful studios, network with the right people, save money and access professional business advice. We also have traditional publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA is 90% funded by independent UK businesses. 80% of our board members are developers and/or from UK owned businesses, and 50% of our board are UK business owners themselves. Since 2010, TIGA has won 24 business awards and commendations. 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 game trade media.
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