UK games industry to grow in 2017, says TIGA

Katharine Byrne
UK games industry to grow in 2017, says TIGA

The UK games industry is expected to see strong growth in 2017, according to the latest data from TIGA, with profit and overall employment numbers rising compared to figures from last year.

In its latest Business Opinion Survey 2017 report, TIGA surveyed 50 games companies large and small across the country, and their outlook for the year was overall very positive.

88 per cent of respondents said they planned to grow their workforce over the course of the next year, up from 72 per cent last year, while 64 per cent said they expected the trend in their company's net profits to be up over the next twelve months.

Half also said that the outlook for investment in their business was more optimistic than twelve months ago. This includes investment for areas such as R&D, training and new games development.30 per cent, meanwhile, said their outlook for investment remained unchanged.

Games companies surveyed also reported their businesses were looking very healthy. 72 per cent said their company was performing well, while just 6 per cent said the company was doing badly.

It wasn't all good news, however, as 70 per cent of those surveyed said they expected company costs to increase over the course of 2017. This is up from last year's figure of 56 per cent.

Meanwhile, 40 per cent of surveyed businesses said they also expected their prices for consumers to rise in 2017. No business predicted prices to fall, however, as the remaining 60 per cent said they expected prices to remain the same.

Access to finance and discoverability were deemed to be the biggest obstacles facing the UK games industry this year, with 34 per cent apiece citing these as their primary concern for 2017. 16 per cent were also worried about skill shortages and skill gaps, but other key problems included scaling business operations, a lack of VR hardware, localisation challenges, management capacity, work peaks and troughs and overall diversity.

The UK video games development and digital publishing sector is set to grow in 2017. Our survey shows that games businesses in mobile, VR, PC and console are planning to increase investment and employment. This growth is being driven by three factors,” said TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson.

Firstly, the consumer market for games is big, broad and burgeoning. The UK is the sixth largest market for games in the world and 31.6 million people in the UK play games.

Secondly, the spread of mobile and tablet devices, the new console generation, the popularity of PC games and the advent of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are prompting investment in games.

Thirdly, Video Games Tax Relief, which TIGA played a decisive role in achieving, is fanning the flame of growth. Games Tax Relief effectively reduces the cost and risk of games development and it incentivises investment and job creation in the games industry. Games Tax Relief is predicted to create 2,800 new development jobs and 331 million in investment between 2016 and 2020.”

TIGA Chairman and Rebellion CEO and creative director Jason Kingsley added: 2017 is set to be another exciting year for the UK video games industry. We will see more start-ups, more existing firms expand and more innovation and growth in the sector. I am especially delighted that Video Games Tax Relief, a measure that TIGA consistently campaigned for over many years, is helping to drive growth in our sector.”