TIGA, the trade association that represents the games industry, has published its Making Games in the UK 2023 report, which showcases the incredible growth the industry has seen over the last two years. Its research shows a huge increase in jobs, revenue, and outside investment, as well as other promising trends that point to a bright future for the still-burgeoning UK games scene.
Eye of the TIGA
The full report, which was carried out from December 2021 to April 2023 with the assistance of Games Investor Consulting, offers a panoramic look at the trends that have defined and shaped the industry in recent times. The key takeaways include a 15.2% increase in the number of creative staff in game studios, a £0.3 billion increase in overall revenue, and a £0.36 billion increase in annual investment.
These are phenomenal figures that clearly mark the UK games industry as a vibrant, thriving ecosystem, with its success having a knock-on effect when it comes to economic growth elsewhere in the country as well. Dr. Richard Wilson, OBE and TIGA CEO, had this to say of the report’s stellar results:
“The UK video games development sector is powering ahead. Employment is soaring and studios are continuing to hire at near record rates. With high growth games studios in many regions, the sector is supporting economic growth across the UK.
“Our sector’s outstanding long-term prospects are underpinned by strong consumer demand, rising Foreign Direct Investment which is attracted by our highly skilled workforce and Video Games Tax Relief, which reduces the cost of games development.
“If the UK is to win an even larger share of the growing market for video games, then the UK Government should enhance the generosity of our Video Games Tax Relief (soon to be transformed into a Video Games Expenditure Credit), introduce a Video Games Investment Fund to help more small studios to scale up and establish an Industrial Secondments Programme to drive skills development.”
In addition to its analysis of the economic trends in the industry, TIGA’s report also broke things down on a by-region basis, with some surprising results. While London does still hold the largest share of the UK games development workforce, with a chunky 22.4%, other regions aren’t far behind. The South East, North West, and West Midlands all put in a strong showing, and Scotland came in fifth, with a very solid 9.1% share of the full UK games workforce. Dr. Richard Wilson noted:
“While London employs over 22 per cent of the games development workforce across 587 companies, 77 per cent of all games development staff in the UK are employed outside of the capital. Approximately one-fifth of development staff are located in the South East of England, while the third, fourth and fifth largest centres of games development by headcount are the North West of England, the West Midlands and Scotland, respectively.”
Jason Kingsley, OBE, TIGA Chairman and Creative Director at Rebellion, wrapped things up nicely:
“TIGA’s research illustrates the video games industry’s strong potential to drive regional economic growth. My personal experience at Rebellion Developments further reinforces this notion, as our studios actively contribute to the economic expansion of cities and regions such as Liverpool, Oxford, Warwick, and Yorkshire. By enhancing Video Games Tax Relief, improving access to finance, and bolstering skills development, we can empower and fortify the UK’s video games clusters, thus making a positive impact on the overall economy of the country.”
TIGA’s Making Games in the UK 2023 report is an encouraging snapshot of an industry in the full throes of growth. As more people and money get involved in the years to come, we can expect to see those numbers climb ever higher, and for Scotland to take up a bigger slice of the pie chart as its own games scene matures and develops.