Slump in sterling makes the UK games industry a golden opportunity

Immediate release

January 15th 2009

There has never been a better time to buy expertise and services from British games companies, middleware developers and art studios, says the industry’s UK trade body Tiga.

Sterling’s sharp decline means that dollar, yen and eurozone customers are getting between 21% and 56% more for their money in comparison to a year ago.

Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said:

“For the last decade British companies have had to rely on the UK industry’s well-deserved reputation for quality. Now we can compete hard on price as well as quality.”

In January 2008 Ten Million yen bought Japanese customers£47,619 of British goods and services (¥210/£1), now it buys£74,361 (¥134/£1), a 56% increase in purchasing power. $US 100,000 bought£50,632 a year ago ($1.975/£1) against£66,955 now (($1.49/£1), a 32% boost to US buying power. Eurozone customers who spent€100,000 last January would have bought (€1.345/£1)£74,349 against£89,800 now (€1.11/£1) - almost 21% more for their money. So while UK consumers are feeling the effects of a weaker currency it gives the UK games industry extra ammunition when they sell abroad.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the UK has more than its share of the best games and middleware talent in the world,” said Servan Keondjian of Qube Software, the company that makes the all-platform, all-genre‘Q’ game engine.“But since the turn of the millennium the strong pound has made some international buyers think twice about the UK. Now we’re starting to see a radical shift. International clients are back because they see not just great quality but also good value.”

Philip Oliver, CEO of Blitz Games Studios believes that: "Every cloud has a silver lining. The current financial turmoil has resulted in the exchange rate tipping hugely in favour of using UK developers. We're still producing the high quality games we've earned the reputation for, but now we're doing so on very competitive pricing.”

With British developers already gearing up for GDC in March many, like Team 17 CEO Martyn Brown, believe that in an increasingly cost conscious environment Sterling’s new lower level is likely to be a very positive factor in the whirlwind of meetings and negotiations that accompanies the show.

“I’d like to think that quality UK developers are always highly considered when international publishers contract out their projects,” Brown said,“but with the pound being what it is, it makes us incredibly good value for money and helps us to be more competitive.”

Others, including Chris Doran, COO of graphics specialists Geomerics, say the currency shift is already making itself felt. Doran said:“The bulk of our business is overseas, and the lower pound is making it much easier for us to win contracts.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

1. Tiga is the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe. We have 160 members, the majority of whom are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and university departments that are members.

2. Tiga’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that Tiga members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

3. For further information, please contact: Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga CEO on: 0845 0941095; Mob: 07875 939643; or: Email: richard.wilson@tiga.org.


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