The UK Games Industry: Young, Independent and Mobile

By April 2, 2013 Press Releases

TIGA, thenetwork representing games developers and digital publishers, released new
research today which showed that the UK games development sector is
increasingly made up of young, independent studios making games for mobile and
tablet devices.  

research is based on an extensive survey
of UK games businesses and published by TIGA in Making Games in the UK Today: A Census of the UK Developer and Digital
Publishing Sector (April 2013). 

  • 338
    studios started up between 2008 and 2012; 
  • over half
    of the games companies in the UK started up in the last four years;
  • the UK
    games development sector is increasingly made up of independent studios – 83
    per cent of all studios that started up in 2011 and 2012 are independent (as
    opposed to publisher owned);
  • 37 per
    cent of all UK studios are now primarily focused on mobile – up from 19 per
    cent in 2010.  For studios founded
    between 2011 and 2012, this figure rises to 53 per cent. 

Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:  

“The UK
games development sector is young, independent and mobile. Over half of the studios
in the UK started up in the last four years. The overwhelming majority of the
UK’s studios are independent: there are 34 publisher studios and 414 independent
studios. Increasingly studios’ preferred platform for games is mobile and
tablet: almost two-fifths of the UK studio population now primarily make games
for these platforms.  

attraction of the mobile and tablet market to UK developers is clear. The mobile and tablet market is substantial
and growing: sales of smartphones are expected to hit 1 billion globally in
2013. There are few barriers to entry in the mobile and tablet market, the cost
of game development on these platforms is relatively low and it is
comparatively straightforward for developers to update game content.  

“The crucial policy
requirement now is for Games Tax Relief to be implemented as soon as possible.
Although Games Tax Relief has not yet received State Aid clearance from the EU
Commission, TIGA has been assured that the UK Government will be legislating for
this Relief in the current Finance Bill. This is vitally important. Many
start-up studios fail to endure, partly because of limited access to finance. Games
Tax Relief effectively reduces the cost of games production, improves access to
capital and will stimulate the production of culturally
British games. This
will benefit many young, independent and mobile games studios.” 

member Shaun Rutland, CEO of London based Hutch, creator of the game Smash
Cops, with over 10m downloads, said: 

“TIGA’s research shows that the
UK games sector is shifting rapidly towards mobile and tablet games
development. Smartphone and tablet gaming presents the greatest opportunities
and our own experience at Hutch shows that the right game and business model can
be extremely successful in this market.” 

member David Bozward, CEO of Birmingham based Dojit Ltd, said: 

“This is an amazing time for
developing mobile games with the expansion of the global industry in terms of
customers, the announcement of new UK tax breaks for video games and a vibrant
development community in the UK. We see over 60 per cent of our players from
China, with another 30 countries downloading our games and with many of these
engaging with us via our social media channels.”  

Oli Christie,
CEO of Cirencester based Neon Play and TIGA board member, said: 

“Now is an incredibly
exciting time to be an independent developer in the mobile space. Neon Play
started in my kitchen three years ago and we've had nearly 50 million downloads
since. Being independent is a lot of fun and small creative games studios can
have huge financial success, even though it is getting more competitive each
year, so there are no guarantees. Now is the time to get going, so I would
heartily encourage people to take the plunge and enjoy the ride.”  

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:


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