Mobile Tide Ebbs as Popularity of PC and VR/AR Increases for UK Studios

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 over the last five years the focus of UK studios has moved away from mobile towards other platforms. In the year to November 2018, 40 per cent of UK studios were primarily focused on mobile, down from 49 per cent in 2013.

TIGA also released the following new information:

  • PC (comprising retail and online PC games, social network games and massively multiplayer online games) was the primary platform category of choice for 36 per cent of UK studios (up from 34 per cent in 2013).
  • Console platforms (comprising console and handheld retail and download categories) remains mostly confined to larger studios with 15 per cent of UK studios focused on developing for these platforms (compared to 16 per cent in 2013).
  • VR/AR is the primary focus of 8 per cent of studios (up from 2 per cent in March 2016).
  • 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 26 per cent of development staff, mobile represents 22 per cent and VR/AR 4 per cent. 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.

TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson, OBE, said:

“Mobile remains the most popular platform for UK games studios, but the proportion of UK development studios focused primarily on this category fell from 49 per cent in 2013 to 40 per cent in 2018.  Mobile’s allure has faded to some degree because the Apstores are flooded with games, leading to huge discoverability and competitive challenges.

“PC remains in second place, with 36 per cent of studios adopting it as their primary platform choice. The PC market is relatively less competitive than mobile: for example, Steam houses approximately 30,000 titles versus over 800,000 on iOS alone. The appeal of PC for developers has also been strengthened by the increasing competition in the PC distribution market between Steam, Epic’s Game Store, Discord and Kongregate’s Kartridge store. This competition is lowering costs for PC developers.

“14 per cent of UK studios are focused mainly on console development. This category remains the largest employer of development staff by a long chalk, 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.

“The popularity of Virtual and Augmented Reality amongst UK studios has increased markedly over the last three years. 8 per cent of all UK studios are now focused on VR and AR, up from just 2 per cent in 2016.”

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

“The UK developers can create games for an increasingly wide choice of platforms.  Different platforms bring different challenges. It is relatively easy to develop games for mobile, but the market is highly competitive and discoverability is difficult. PC and console provide greater opportunities to build stable businesses, but the cost of game development is higher in comparison to mobile. VR and AR attract significant media attention and investment, but the degree of consumer demand is uncertain. It will be fascinating to see how UK developers create content and build businesses around these different platforms.”





Notes to editors


Research methodology


TIGA’s data and information on PC, mobile, console and VR/AR is based on research with Games Investor Consulting (GIC). GIC continuously maintains a database of all extant, closed and exiting British games companies including all verified discrete independent and publisher-owned games development studios. It counts as a single studio all entities with holding/parent, sister and subsidiary companies that do not represent separate development concerns. It excludes companies in the process of being liquidated as well as any company that uses games-related Standard Industrial Codes (SIC) codes but which either are demonstrably not in games (e.g. are gambling or board gaming businesses) or cannot be verified from their published company profiles as operating in games development. Between September-November 2018, 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 or in roles supporting development. HR, admin, sales, marketing and commercial staff were excluded. GIC takes the latest data on development headcount to scale total development expenditure, and then uses current ONS economic data and 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 28 business awards and commendations and has been successfully accredited as an Investors in People organisation four 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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