Irish game industry shows huge jobs growth

Irish game industry shows huge jobs growth
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

November 16th 2012 at 11:18AM

Ireland's games market valued at seven per cent of UK and Eire, claims report

The first independent report on the Irish games industry has been published today and details massive growth for the island nations.

Compiled by Jamie McCormick in co-operation with GameDevelopers.ie, the report identifies 91 per cent jobs growth since 2009, with over 2800 people employed by over 80 companies.

It values the Irish consumer market between 2001 and 2011 at over €2 billion and measures it at least seven per cent of the overall UK and Eire market.

McCormick told Develop that the purpose of the report is to draw attention to the Irish games industry, which is rarely discussed independently of Britain.

For the first time, it outlines regional jobs numbers, county company numbers, the split between indigenous and international companies, and the types of jobs currently available among people working in the Irish games industry.

Titled ‘The Games Industry in Ireland 2012’, the report has been published during Dublin Games Week 2012 and is available to read at GameDevelopers.ie.

It was conducted through two surveys in March and October 2012. The report gives a conservative estimate of the size, scale, distribution and make-up of digital games companies operating across Ireland, as well as an estimation of the size of the Irish consumer games market as a distinct wedge of the broader UK market, of which it is part.

It also report seeks industry help from the expatriate Irish and Northern Irish game development community who have scattered around the world, so it can see what skills gaps still remain before they return home to enable triple-A development to become a reality in Ireland.

According to the report, as of October 2012, at least 2802 people work across 83 games companies on the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, with jobs up 91 per cent and overall company numbers tripling since the 2009 report on the industry by Dr Aphra Kerr (NUI Maynooth) and Dr Anthony Cawley (UL).

Also detailed is the fact that 47 of the companies are based in Dublin, with Galway having the second most developers at five. The lowest of the job roles surveyed was core development, which totalled just 280 people. Meanwhile, jobs inn publishing stood at 1,883, based on a survey conducted in March – when PopCap Dublin was still in existence.

In addition, the report factors in known recent hits to the games industry – such as the closure of PopCap Dublin in September – and identifies the popularity of 12 gaming platforms, with iOS in first place, by more than double that of browser games and PC games who were in second place.

Furthermore, it was found that one indigenous international company closed in the six-month period between these reports. Two international companies removed their investment in the Irish market. A third international company announced redundancies, which were completed during this timeframe. Between these, it is estimated that 590 jobs were lost.

Eleven companies responded to both surveys. Among these, four developers lost 21 staff, one had no perceptible change in staffing, and six of the developers employed ten additional staff between them. This produces a further net employment loss of 11 staff. It should be noted that most of these losses were in part-time, contractor or intern positions.

The figures from the October update actually showed a net reduction in employment of 542, which reduces total estimated jobs figure in March to 2808 jobs, despite the increase in companies from 75 to 83.

McCormick works professionally as marketing systems manager at free-to-play publisher gPotato.eu, and has worked for over a decade in the Irish games industry across Gamesworld, Demonware, Xbox Live Gaming Centre and Jolt Online gaming.

Published as a piece of independent research freely available to the public at GameDevelopers.ie, it is offered to industry and state agencies as a benchmark against which future growth in the Irish industry can be measured.