TIGA, formerly known as The Independent Game Developers' Association, has announced a bumper year for the UK games industry with contributions to gross domestic product (GDP) rising to £1.25 billion.
In a report released today by TIGA, which acts as a networking and lobbying body for the UK's games industry, and populated via data collected via email and telephone surveys of 534 UK companies, the contribution to the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) from its native games industry is claimed to have reached more than £1.25 billion for the year to March 2016. Other figures included in the report suggest that nearly 12,000 people are directly employed as creative staff at games developers in the UK, a rise of 7.5 percent from last year, and that annual investment by studios has risen from £503 million in 2015 to £562 million.
'The industry's growth over the last year has been driven by three factors. Firstly, the games market is buoyant, with new opportunities continuing to arise in mobile, PC gaming, console and VR and AR, which have combined to stimulate investment and job creation,' claimed Richard Wilson, TIGA chief executive, of the factors behind the reported increases. 'Secondly, start-ups have increased in number while existing medium and larger studios have expanded. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Games Tax Relief (GTR) is powering growth. There is now a clear causal link between the advent of GTR and headcount growth in the UK games development sector. Over the three years before GTR was announced, the UK's development headcount experienced an average annual growth rate of minus 3.6 per cent. Over the four years after the announcement, the average annual growth rate was plus 7.1 per cent.'
Jason Kingsley, TIGA chair and creative director at UK developer Rebellion, warned that there are still challenges facing the UK's games industry. '12 per cent of all studios closed down in 2014. Access to finance is challenging, particularly for micro-studios. Recruitment of highly skilled people can be difficult,' he explained. 'We now need to reinforce our success by enhancing Video Games Tax Relief, improving studios' access to finance, developing regional games clusters and continuing to boost education and skills.'
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