This is a press release posted in addition to our usual editorial content.
TIGA, the trade association representing the UK video games industry, reported today that employment in the UK’s games developer sector surged by almost 25 per cent between April 2020 and the end of December 2021, from 16,836 to 20,975. This represents an annualised increase of 14.7 per cent. Wider games industry employment, tax revenues and investment also grew dramatically over the period. The findings come from TIGA’s definitive report on the state of the UK video games industry Making Games in the UK 2022 (TIGA, 2022) which is based on an extensive survey of UK games businesses, with analysis by Games Investor Consulting.
TIGA’s research shows that in the period from April 2020 to December 2021:
- The number of creative staff in studios surged by almost 25 per cent and at an annualised rate of 14.7 per cent from 16,836 to 20,975 full-time and full-time equivalent staff;
- The number of jobs indirectly supported by studios rose from 30,781 to 38,348;
- Combined direct and indirect tax revenues generated by the sector for the Treasury are estimated to have increased from £907 million to £1,189 million;
- Annual investment by studios rose from £993 million to £1,301 million (i.e. £1.3 billion); and
- The game development sector’s annual contribution to UK Gross Domestic Product increased from £2,200 million (i.e. £2.2 billion) to £2,884 million (i.e. £2.9 billion).
Dr Richard Wilson, OBE, TIGA CEO, commented:
“The UK video games development sector is sprinting ahead, with an annualised growth rate of 14.7 per cent. This is the highest rate recorded since our survey began in 2007.
“Four factors are driving growth in our industry. Firstly, consumer demand for games, supercharged by the lockdowns of 2020-21, is stimulating growth in the industry. Consumer expenditure on games in the UK rose from £3.8 billion in 2019 to £4.3 billion in 2021.
“Secondly, the UK has a highly skilled and experienced workforce capable of creating content and original IP that sells all over the world. This world-class talent pool is sustained by high-quality university games courses, 35 of which have achieved TIGA accreditation.
“Thirdly, the launch of a range of new consoles from Sony (PlayStation 5) and Microsoft (Xbox Series X & S) in late 2020 benefitted the UK development industry, which has a strong track record in console games development. Both Sony and Microsoft now have multiple studios in the UK and are amongst the largest employers of games developers in the country.
“Finally, Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) is enabling our sector to grow strongly. TIGA played a critical role in the long battle to win VGTR, which effectively reduces the cost and risk of game development and incentivises investment and employment growth in the industry. The UK games industry’s headcount declined by an annual average of 3.1 per cent between 2008 and 2011, before VGTR existed. Since 2014 when VGTR was introduced, the headcount in the industry has grown on average by 9.9 per cent each year.
“We must ensure the UK video games sector remains competitive and continues to grow, and ensure the UK wins a growing share of the global video games market, which was valued at $180.3 billion in 2021. To achieve this, the UK must enhance VGTR and introduce a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) to improve studios’ access to finance. This will enable our sector to create more jobs, more investment and more economic growth throughout the UK.”