UK games industry body TIGA have conducted a census of Biblical proportions. Rather than send each game developer in Britain to their town of birth to be registered, however, they simply talked to studio bosses across the country and emerged with an intriguing result: employment levels appear to be at their highest point since 2008.
That’s thanks in part to a “surge” of start-ups. Indies.
The games industry’s contribution to the UK total GDP (about £2.5tn) has jumped from £947m to £1.02bn, revealed TIGA.
TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson said a new host of indie studios were partly to thank - companies set up in the wake of major studio closures across the UK.
“The UK games development sector is back on track,” said Wilson. “The closure of big console focused studios has been followed by a surge of small start-up companies.”
Demand for games on mobile and tablet devices has increased, noted Wilson, and the country’s new tax relief scheme to match Canada is “already stimulating growth”.
“Now that GTR has been approved by the EU Commission and games companies can claim from April 1st 2014 onwards, the UK can look forward to the creation of more jobs, more investment and the production of more culturally British video games,” he said.
The European Commission greenlit UK games dev tax breaks this year after “initial doubts” that the industry really needed them. Those doubts dispelled, developers will benefit from a 25% cut - but only if their game scores half marks on a cultural test.
Points are awarded for odd hangovers from the film industry, like explicitly British settings and characters. But developers have been assured that abstract games built by local teams can meet the requirements too.
What’s the best British game you’ve played lately? Sir, You Are Being Hunted is mine.