UK experiences a wave of video game start-ups, says TIGA

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK video games industry, published new data today showing a wave of new games studios started up in the UK. 557 new studios were formed between April 2020 and December 2021.[1]

TIGA’s research shows that:

  • There has been an enormous increase in the rate of start-ups. Between April 2020 and December 2021, 557 new studios were formed. This represents an average rate of 27.8 start-ups per month. This compares to 10.9 start-ups per month on average for the previous research period (November 2018 to April 2020).
  • The vast increase in start-ups has in turn increased the overall studio population in the UK. The number of verifiable, discrete independent and publisher-owned studios leapt by a dramatic 47 per cent from 1,041 in April 2020 to 1,528 in December 2021.
  • Most start-ups typically remain micro or small firms in their early stages. Accordingly, 78 per cent of all UK games studios have just 4 or fewer development staff, compared to 73 per cent as of April 2020.
  • 12 per cent of UK studios have 5-15 staff; 5 per cent have 16-40 staff; 3 per cent have 41-149 staff, and 2 per cent have 150 staff or more.

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:

“The UK video games industry has experienced a wave of start-ups during 2020-21. This torrent of start-ups has been partly driven by COVID lockdowns and the necessity to move development staff to remote working. Record numbers of game developers have incorporated throughout the research period. Many have commercialised side-projects undertaken in developers’ increased spare time. The increase in start-ups also reflects strong consumer demand for games and relatively low barriers to studio formation, especially on mobile.

“Micro-studios now represent 78 per cent of all UK games development companies. The challenge now is to enable more of our micro-studios to scale up and grow. TIGA is recommending the enhancement of Video Games Tax Relief to ensure a favourable tax environment for games production and the establishment of a Video Games Investment Fund to enable more start-ups to access finance and professional advice.”


Notes to editors

Research methodology

Games Investor Consulting in conjunction with TIGA and its partners conducted surveys concluding in July 2008, September 2010, November 2011, December 2012, December 2013, December 2014, March 2016, November 2017, November 2018, April 2020 and December 2021 of all known British games companies involved in the creation of games (including developers, publishers, publisher studios, service companies and broadcasters with games divisions). Assessments of every database entry are made on a company-by-company basis with strict vetting and verification rules to ensure each entry is discrete (to prevent duplication via subsidiary or parent companies) and confirmed to be active in games development. The survey counts staff working in development and development support roles in games studios, games publishers and development service companies. A broad array of additional data is also captured including studio location, primary platform focus and company ownership structure as well as company start-ups and exits/closures.

About TIGA

TIGA is the trade association for the UK 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. Our vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to develop video games. Our core purpose is to strengthen the games development and digital publishing sector. To this end, we focus on four strategic objectives:

Get in touch:

Tel: 0845 468 2330

[1] TIGA’s research is based on an extensive survey of game developers with analysis conducted by Games Investor Consulting.


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