TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers, released new findings today which show the UK videogame development sector is back on track, with studio headcounts, wider games industry employment, tax revenues and investment all on the up. Employment in the UK games development sector has returned to levels last seen in 2008, with a rise of seven per cent in 2013 representing a five-year high. The games development sector also now contributes more than £1 billion to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The findings come from TIGA’s definitive annual report into the state and health of the UK videogame industry Making Games in the UK Today: June 2014 which is based on an extensive survey of UK games businesses, with analysis by Games Investor Consulting.
TIGA’s research shows that between 2012 and 2013:
- the number of creative staff in studios grew from 9,224 to 9,896;
- the number of jobs indirectly supported by studios rose from 16,864 to 18,093;
- combined direct and indirect tax revenues generated by the sector for the Treasury increased from £390 million to £419 million;
- annual investment by studios rose from £427 million to £458 million; and
- the game development sector’s contribution to UK GDP increased from £947 million to £1.02 billion.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, comments:
“The UK games development sector is back on track. Employment is up, investment is increasing and the sector’s contribution to UK GDP has grown to £1,016 million.
“The sector’s return to growth has been driven by three factors. Firstly, the explosion of mobile and tablet devices have created a significant market for games: jobs are being created in response to this demand. Secondly, the closure of big console focused studios has been followed by a surge of small start-up companies. Thirdly, the advent of Games Tax Relief (GTR), which TIGA was instrumental in achieving, is already stimulating growth. GTR effectively reduces the cost of games development and it incentivises investment and job creation in the games industry. For example, Eden Films has plans to build a new games studio, Codec Studios, and to develop a new £30 million video game, providing employment for over 100 highly skilled development staff for a minimum of three years.
“Now that GTR has been approved by the EU Commission and games companies can claim from April 1st 2014 onwards, the UK can look forward to the creation of more jobs, more investment and the production of more culturally British video games.”
Zubin Patel, Deloitte tax partner, one of the sponsors of the report, added:
“We are delighted that TIGA’s research shows that the UK games development sector is back on track. We anticipate further growth in the sector following the introduction of the long-awaited video Games Tax Relief from April 2014. The Tax Relief will reduce the cost of development activity in the UK by up to 25% and is expected to be worth £25 million per year for the industry.
“The relief is based on the highly successful film tax relief, which has provided more than £1 billion in support to over 1,000 films since its introduction in 2007.”
Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said:
“This is another great day for the UK videogame sector. Our industry has been through some incredibly tough times over the last five years as the sector has gone through a series of massive transitions, such as from retail to digital distribution, and a console to mobile focused development.
“This was all happening during the biggest economic crisis since the depression, and against a backdrop which saw UK games developers competing on an un-level international playing field, with competitor nations benefitting from generous tax reliefs which UK games developers lacked.
“Those days are behind us now. The industry is adapting and with the wind of GTR at our backs, the UK games development and digital publishing sector is set to surge ahead.”
Notes to editors
Games Investor Consulting conducted four censuses concluding in July 2008, September 2010, November 2011 and 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.
Games Investor Consulting conducted a similar census concluding in December 2012 in conjunction with TIGA and Sustainability Unit, an independent survey company. Distribution, manufacturing, peripheral device, marketing and retail outlet companies were not profiled.
GIC takes the latest data on development headcount to scale total development expenditure, and then uses Oxford Economics’ calculations to establish estimates of the development industry’s GDP and tax impact.
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 17 business awards.
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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The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
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