TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the UK video games industry, has published new data showing that the South East, London, the North West and Scotland were the largest centres of games development in 2018, based on the number of development staff. 
Together, London and the South East employ 43.3 per cent of those who work in the video games industry, unchanged from the last coverage period.
With 3,194 FT and FTE employees in 207 games companies, the South East remains ahead of London as the biggest employer in the UK, albeit with fewer companies than London, which now has 3,026 developers in 277 games companies.
TIGA’s research reveals the following information:
|UK regions||2018 developer headcount||2018 percentage share of UK industry|
Video games start-ups in the South East and London are located close to Europe’s largest financial centre in the City of London, and benefit from the high quality of universities in these regions, and the attractiveness of these regions to incoming talent from the European Union.
Dr Richard Wilson, OBE, TIGA CEO, said:
“The South East is the largest centre of games development in the UK. The South East benefits from a number of important games clusters, including Guildford, Brighton and Portsmouth. Excellent universities provide these clusters with first rate graduates. The region also boasts some iconic and innovative games studios including nDreams, Rebellion and Supermassive Games.
“London remains a games development powerhouse. The capital is home to leading games companies, including Sony and Space Ape Games and has good access to highly skilled developers, leading universities and finance providers.
“Although London and the South account for over 43 per cent of employment in the games development industry, the sector differs from other UK media and creative sectors in being spread very widely across the UK: the third and fourth largest centres of games development by headcount are the North West of England and Scotland, respectively. Both the North West and Scotland boast excellent universities and a strong tradition of games development.
“We need to strengthen local, regional and national games clusters across the UK by encouraging the use of Video Games Tax Relief, introducing a Games Investment Fund to improve access to finance, enhance access to high skilled developers, strengthen industry-university links and encourage more universities to achieve TIGA University Accreditation (https://tiga.org/education/tiga-university-accreditation) in order to nurture and promote local, regional and national games centres.”
Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said:
“The UK benefits from having multiple clusters of highly talented games studios supported by high quality universities. Rebellion, a company with operations in Oxford, Didcot, Runcorn, Leamington Spa and Yorkshire, is a testament to this fact. If the Government can improve access to finance and skills then the UK’s many games clusters will continue to thrive.”
Professor Gregor White, Dean of School of Design & Informatics, Abertay University, said:
“Scotland remains one of the leading games clusters in the UK. Two of the all time most successful games Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft are developed in Scotland by established studios Rockstar North in Edinburgh and 4J Studios in Dundee, while exciting new studios No Code and Build a Rocket Boy are receiving critical attention for their innovative games. The industry in Scotland benefits from a number of excellent universities and the TIGA accredited courses in the Centre of Excellence in Computer Games Education at Abertay University. The recently established InGAME R&D Centre in Dundee has been set up to support growth in the scale and value of the local games industry cluster. I look forward to seeing Scotland move up this table soon.”
Notes to editors
TIGA’s data and information 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.
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:
For further information, you can also contact: Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO by email: email@example.com
 Regional headcount includes full time and full time equivalent staff.
 Regional headcount includes full time equivalents.