British game devs 'pump £1 billion into UK economy'

British game devs 'pump £1 billion into UK economy'

By Rob Crossley

October 6th 2011 at 3:41PM

But two fifths of studios are struggling to access finance

The UK’s games development industry contributed about £1 billion to GDP last year, new data suggests.

Games industry association Tiga made the claim as part of its annual comprehensive survey of more than one hundred UK games studios.

The findings portray the games industry as a useful aid in the Treasury’s plan to grow the economy.

Tiga discovered, however, that dev money is being pooled from increasingly splintered revenue streams.

Nearly half (47%) of the British studios surveyed claimed they now self-publish games.

And it is Apple that has truly disrupted the market. Sixty-seven per cent of the self-publishing studios make games for iPhone, while 45 per cent chose iPad too.

These were found to be the two most popular platforms for indies.

Forty-one per cent said they were self-publishing on PC, and another 31 per cent said they were building specifically for Facebook.

Though a digital revolution appears to be disrupting the landscape, over half of the surveyed developers said their main source of income was from boxed retail game sales.

Thirteen per cent of the survey’s respondents said they generate money from subscription models, while another 26 per cent are funded via microtransactions.

But the industry’s relatively strong economic health is not free from challenges, Tiga said. The study claimed that two fifths of developers are having trouble accessing finance – a problem affecting thousands of businesses across the UK.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, this week revealed a new plan called ‘credit easing’, which is hoped will help fund businesses without the need for banks.

A full picture of how the process will work is due by November, the Treasury said.

Financing smaller and cheaper projects, meanwhile, appears to be an easier feat for studios to achieve. With the advent of social and mobile games businesses across the UK, the average game development budget has sunk dramatically to about 2.4 million, Tiga said.

Elsewhere in the survey, Tiga claimed that almost two-fifths of developers have a budget for R&D. The typical studio will have around 80 per cent of staff qualified to degree level or above, the trade body added.