TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, released a Business Opinion Survey today which shows that the industry is set for a year of growth. 77 per cent of respondents plan to grow their organisation’s workforce over the course of 2019. 62 per cent of respondents believe that the economic and business environment in the UK is favourable to the video games industry. Access to finance, skills issues and marketing remain the key obstacles to UK games businesses.
TIGA’s Business Opinion Survey 2018-19 was carried out at the end of 2018. The survey is based upon a representative sample of 60 games businesses including small, medium and large firms, developing games across mobile/tablet, VR, PC and console. Percentages are rounded throughout this report and so do not always add up to 100 per cent.
TIGA’s Business Opinion Survey 2018-19 includes the following key findings:
- Employment: 77 per cent of respondents plan to grow their organisation’s workforce over the next year (compared to 68 per cent of respondents in last year’s survey). 23 per cent expected to keep their organisation’s workforce at current levels and 2 per cent thought that their organisation’s workforce would diminish a little.
- Economic environment: 62 per cent of respondents to the TIGA survey believe that the economic and business environment in the UK is favourable to the video games industry (compared to 70 per cent a year ago). 28 per cent consider that the environment is neither favourable nor unfavourable to the sector, 5 per cent feel that it is unfavourable and 7 per cent do not know.
- Investment: 52 per cent of respondents to the TIGA survey said that the outlook for investment in their business (for example, in R&D, training, new games development, etc) was more optimistic than compared to 12 months ago. 35 per cent said that the outlook was unchanged. 12 per cent said the outlook for investment was less optimistic.
- Performance: 77 per cent of respondents reported that their company was performing either ‘very well’ or ‘well’ (compared to 62 per cent twelve months’ ago). 18 per cent said that their company was performing ‘neither well nor badly’. Just 5 per cent reported that their company was performing ‘badly’ or ‘very badly’.
- Prospects: 57 per cent of respondents said that they were more optimistic about their company’s prospects compared to 12 months ago (up from 46 per cent a year ago). 25 per cent reported that they were neither more nor less optimistic, while 15 per cent said that they were less optimistic about their organisation’s prospects. 4 per cent did not know.
- Obstacles to success: 33 per cent of the respondents to the TIGA survey said that the principal obstacle holding back their businesses was limited access to finance. 30 per cent identified skills shortages and skills gaps. A further 25 per cent cited discoverability as the biggest obstacle. 7 per cent referred to difficulties securing new projects or publishing deals. Others referred to: a lack of space for expansion; a lack of support for games services companies; the challenge of Brexit; and the need to make the UK’s Video Games Tax Relief more internationally competitive.
Commenting on the survey findings, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:
“The UK video games development and digital publishing sector is set for another year of expansion. 77 per cent of respondents to our survey are planning to increase employment over the coming year. 62 per cent of games businesses in our survey believe that the economic and business environment in the UK is favourable to the video games industry (although this is a lower proportion than a year ago). Video Games Tax Relief, which TIGA was instrumental in achieving, is fuelling growth in the sector. Games Tax Relief effectively reduces the cost and risk of games development and incentivises investment and job creation in the games industry.
“The Government can capitalise on our industry’s strong position by improving our access to finance and to highly skilled people. On finance, the Government should consider introducing TIGA’s proposal for a Games Investment Fund (GIF). The GIF would make grants or loans of between £75,000 and £500,000 available to games businesses on a matched funding basis.
“The Government’s emphasis on boosting STEM skills is sensible. However, our industry needs to 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. UK games businesses will continue to invest in training, while TIGA will continue to accredit university games courses to encourage a good supply of high quality graduates. Yet if we are to achieve our potential, then the UK video games industry will need to continue to recruit global talent.”
Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman, and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said:
“2019 shows all the signs of being another great year for our industry. We should see more start-ups, expansion and innovation within the sector. We can strengthen our industry still further by improving access to finance and skills and ensuring that the UK has a migration policy post-Brexit that is favourable to growth. TIGA looks forward to continuing its work with the Government in 2019 to ensure our industry achieves its potential.”
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TIGA is the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry. Our core purpose is to strengthen the games development and digital publishing sector. We achieve this by campaigning for the industry in the corridors of power, championing the industry in the media and helping our members commercially.
TIGA is intent on building an enduring organisation which continually improves; a business that will make a significant impact on the games industry and so benefit our membership and the wider economy. Since 2010, TIGA has won 28 business awards, an achievement which reflects TIGA’s drive for improvement and to meet best practice.
Video Games Tax Relief has been available to UK games companies since April 2014 and applications have grown each year. Since the introduction of Video Games Tax Relief, £230 million has been paid out in response to 770 claims. A total of 480 video games productions have claimed Video Games Tax Relief, accounting for over £1 billion of UK expenditure (HM Revenue and Customs, 19 July 2018).
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 Further information available here: https://tiga.org/news/tiga-calls-for-the-launch-of-a-video-games-investment-fund
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