TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, today published the results of a new survey showing that the Brexit process has had a mixed impact on the industry. 29 per cent of developers feel that Brexit has been damaging, primarily because of its impact on recruitment and retention, but 11 per cent of studios believe that Brexit has been favourable, principally because of the depreciation of sterling since the EU Referendum.
TIGA’s business survey indicated that some developers are struggling with retention and recruitment following the referendum. Some businesses reported finding it harder to attract talent from overseas, staff returning to the continent, and others worrying about their residency status following Brexit.
Meanwhile, some developers noted that projects have already stalled due to uncertainty, while the possible absence of Creative Europe funding after 2019 is causing concern.
Yet overall, the survey shows a mixed picture. Some businesses reported that the depreciation in sterling had made them more price competitive in Europe and the USA.
The survey was carried out at the end of 2017. The survey is based upon a representative sample of 63 games businesses including small, medium and large firms, developing games across mobile/tablet, VR, PC and console.
The survey includes the following key findings:
- 33 per cent of respondents said that they did not know whether Brexit had had any impact on their business;
- 29 per cent said that there had been a negative impact;
- 27 per cent reported that there had not been any consequences; and
- 11 per cent said that there had been positive repercussions.
Impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union: Anonymised CEOs’ Comments
Sterling and Exports
“We work with American and European clients, so short-term the drop in the pound has made us more competitive.”
“Yes – from a pure finance point of view it has been positive due to the weakening of the GBP vs USD. Beyond that there’s been little impact so far.”
“We also sell business software (which helps fund our games). Since Brexit, our EU business customers are leaving us because they no longer wish to trade with the U.K. This formed 40 per cent of our turnover and has had a devastating effect on our business.”
“We’re finding more interest from non-EU publishers/investors/clients.”
“Businesses are reluctant to invest.”
“We feel we are working in an environment of less certainty and less opportunity.”
“Investors in the UK are conservative and non-visionary. Now, they are very different, worried about their money, even more concerned with risk. Investment is the only issue we have, otherwise for games, the UK is insanely strong with talent, know-how and experience, but we need more resources!”
“Equipment prices have shot up, as have other costs, because of the decline in the value of the pound.”
“Uncertainty is stalling projects.”
“Brexit has caused uncertainty over potential Creative Europe funding for our second game.”
Recruitment and Retention
“Harder to recruit from outside of the UK.”
“Europeans are leaving our company to return to Europe.”
“Finding talent and skills shortages are big problems – we are finding it more difficult to secure overseas talent – people are less optimistic about relocating to the UK and some have dropped out of the recruitment process. Non-UK nationals within the studio are also concerned about their ongoing legibility to be in the UK.”
Commenting on the survey findings, Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:
“Brexit has increased economic uncertainty in the UK but it has had a mixed impact on the UK video games industry. The depreciation of sterling since the EU referendum has accentuated the competitiveness of some UK studios, but there have been negative consequences for other games businesses in terms of recruitment and retention.
“The breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations in early December on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border means that Brexit talks are set to progress to trade negotiations. The single most important priority for the UK video games industry in the next phase of Brexit negotiations is that we have access to highly-skilled employees from the EU, EEA and beyond. Currently, EU workers make up 15 per cent of the UK games industry, while 5 per cent come from countries outside the EU. This is a significant proportion considering EU workers make up 6.8 per cent of the UK workforce as a whole. In order to grow and thrive as it previously has, the UK video games industry will need to continue to recruit talent on a global level.”
TIGA set out a range of options for a future migration policy in a submission to the Migration Advisory Committee in 2017:
- reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers in the video games industry;
- a general reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers with a job offer;
- the provision of approximately 1,500 work permits per annum for the UK video games industry;
- the addition of roles (e.g. Games Analyst and Engine Programmer) to the Shortage Occupation List where there is a specific skills shortage so that employers can recruit the employees they need without undue delay;
- ensuring that any new immigration arrangements are not complex or costly for business; and
- the introduction of a fast-track visa programme for roles on the Shortage Occupation List.
These measures could help to keep the UK open to global talent (see: https://tiga.org/news/tiga-calls-on-the-government-to-keep-the-uk-open-to-global-talent).
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. 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.
Get in touch:
Tel: 0845 468 2330
For further information, you can also contact: Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO by email: email@example.com