Mobile Most Popular Platform for UK Studios, but Console and PC Studios Employ the Lion's Share of Developers

Aug 29, 2016, 19:01 ET from TIGA

LONDON, August 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

TIGA, the network for video games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, today released new data showing that while the largest proportion of UK studios made games for mobile, studios focussed on console and pc games employed the most development staff in the UK.  

In the year ending March 2016, 46 per cent of UK studios were primarily focused on mobile platforms, but employed just 20 per cent of development staff. Conversely, 36 per cent were focused mainly on PC and employed 26 per cent of development staff. 14 per cent of studios were focused on console, but these studios employed the lion's share of the development workforce (45 per cent). TIGA released the following information from its forthcoming annual report into the state of the UK video games industry Making Games in the UK Today: 2016.

  • 46 per cent of UK studios were primarily focused on the mobile platform category in 2016 (down from 49 per cent in 2013 and 48 per cent in 2014).
  • PC (comprising retail and online PC games, social network games and massively multiplayer online games) was the primary platform category of choice for 36 per cent of UK studios (compared to 37 per cent in 2014 and 34 per cent in 2013).
  • Interest in console platforms (comprising console and handheld retail and download categories) remains mostly confined to larger studios with almost 14 per cent of UK studios focused on developing for console and handheld platforms (compared to 13 per cent in 2014, 16 per cent in 2013 and 23 per cent in 2012). Nevertheless, British developers are still investing in consoles, and console studios still employ nearly half the UK development workforce.
  • The fastest growing new games category is virtual reality (VR), with 20 development companies primarily working on VR. Although this is a small proportion of the total companies (2 per cent), it is now the same proportion of total companies as massively multiplayer online games (MMOG), although MMOG companies employ far more development staff (727 developers versus 245 respectively).

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

"Mobile remains the most popular platform for UK games studios, but the surge has subsidised. The proportion of UK development studios focused primarily on this category fell from 49 per cent in 2013 to 46 per cent in 2016, the third consecutive annual fall.

"PC remains in second place, with 36 per cent of studios adopting it as their primary platform choice. We've seen a flourishing of PC studios in the last few years, primarily driven by opportunities to self-publish on Steam.

"14 per cent of UK studios are focused mainly on console development and this category remains the largest employer of development staff by far, employing 45 per cent of UK development staff. This demonstrates the UK's long and impressive tradition as one of the leading console games development nations and the significantly higher resources and teams required for console games development.

"Virtual Reality is the fastest growing new games category for studios by number, but not by headcount. It will be fascinating to see how this category grows ain the years ahead."

Jason Kingsley OBE, CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, which develops games for mobile, pc and console platforms, commented:

"Mobile is a popular platform for many start-ups. It is perhaps a less intimidating place to start making games when compared to console and PC. However, it is often harder to generate revenue and so create a stable business in mobile, especially in the free to play sphere. The challenge for many mobile studios is to grow and to transition from one platform to another."


Notes to editors 

Research methodology 

Games Investor Consulting (GIC) continuously maintains a database of all extant, closed and exiting British games companies. Between January-March 2016, 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. HR, admin, sales, marketing and commercial staff were excluded. 534 companies responded or publish up to date data on headcount, representing 70% of the UK's total headcount. Estimates for the remaining companies were established by desk research from a variety of other public data and GIC sources. GIC takes the latest data on development headcount to scale total development expenditure, and then uses 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.

About TIGA 

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 and has been successfully accredited as an Investors in People organisation three 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.

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