Start-ups Pass the Growth Baton to Existing Studios

Jul 05, 2015, 19:01 ET from TIGA

LONDON, July 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers, today released new findings from its annual report into the state of the UK videogame industry Making Games in the UK Today: June 2015. The new findings show that in 2014, studio birth and death rates declined and that growth in the games development sector was driven less by start-ups and more by existing medium and larger sized studios. The studio start-up rate in 2014 was just 44 per cent of the 2013 rate, but the UK's games developer headcount rose by almost 10 per cent in 2014.

  • The rates at which new companies started up in the industry slowed in 2014 following record levels in 2013. 99 games companies started up in 2014 versus 224 start-ups in 2013. The studio exit rate declined from 107 in 2013 to 75 in 2014.
  • The overall number of studios in the UK grew by 7 per cent in 2014, compared to a rise of 38 per cent in 2013.
  • The UK remains dominated by micro studios (with over half of studios employing 1 to 4 permanent development staff).  
  • The volume of studios with 14 staff or fewer remained largely static in 2014 in absolute terms and even fell as a percentage of the overall studio population (from 78 per cent to 73 per cent).
  • The proportion of studios with 15 or more staff rose from 22 per cent to 27 per cent. Many medium-sized and larger studios increased their staff numbers in 2014 and this has contributed significantly to overall UK developer headcount growth. The UK's games developer headcount increased by almost 10 per cent in 2014.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

"Over the last few years the UK video games industry has been afflicted by a high 'death rate', with studios closing down with significant regularity. 182 studios closed down or exited the industry over the last two years alone. Yet this tendency is diminishing. In 2014, 99 games companies started up and 75 closed down compared to 224 start-ups and 107 exits in 2013.

"Additionally, 2014 was the year that saw start-ups pass the growth baton to existing studios. Although the start-up rate was just 44 per cent of that of 2013, the UK games industry workforce grew by almost 10 per cent in 2014.

"This is encouraging. TIGA wants to see a flourishing developer and digital publisher sector, with strong numbers of start-ups, growing sustainable studios, a decline in the business mortality rate and an increase in overall studio numbers. TIGA's vision is for an increase in the volume of studios with 15 or more staff so that there are more businesses in the UK capable of handling larger projects and investments and developing into world leading games companies."

Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said:

"Rising numbers of start-ups and an expansion of existing studios points to a growing games development sector in the UK. Our challenge now is to help more developers grow their businesses by ensuring that governments create a favourable environment for the industry and for TIGA to provide quality networking events, professional business advice and access to partners, publishers and investors."

Notes to editors 

Research methodology 

The data used in Making Games in the UK Today: May 2015 is the product of six censuses undertaken over the last seven years. Games Investor Consulting conducted four censuses concluding in July 2008, September 2010, November 2011, December 2013 of all known British games companies (including developers, publishers, publisher studios, service companies and broadcasters with games divisions) by telephone and email, asking as many as possible extant studios for their development headcounts (excluding HR, admin, sales, marketing and commercial staff), growth expectations and freelancer count / usage. GIC conducted similar censuses concluding in December 2012 and, most recently, December 2014 in conjunction with TIGA and third party researchers. Distribution, manufacturing, peripheral device, marketing and retail companies were not profiled.

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 trade association representing the UK video game industry. We help developers and digital publishers build successful studios, network with the right people, save money and access professional business advice. We also have traditional publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.

TIGA is 90% funded by independent UK businesses. 80% of our board members are developers and/or from UK owned businesses, and 50% of our board are UK business owners themselves. Since 2010, TIGA has won 24 business awards and commendations.

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 game trade media.

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