The UK gaming industry has become a billion dollar success story and small businesses are starting to find their place at the table.
According to non-profit trade association TIGA, the UK gaming industry now contributes £1.1bn to the economy every single year. With the rise in mobile gaming, smaller developers can get their foot in the door and showcase their talent to the world.
Between 2011 and 2013, there has been a 22 per cent increase in the number of gaming companies in the UK. The UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) trade body has found that 95 per cent of all gaming companies are small or micro businesses, with an average of 120 employees per company.
Small gaming companies tend to base themselves within London, with 54.6 per cent of all companies located within the capital. There are other areas within the UK where you can find micro-gaming businesses, particularly in the Midlands (20.1 per cent) and the North of England (17 per cent).
Although it seems like making games for a living is a dream come true, there are many small business owners worrying about the future of the UK gaming industry. James Coote, who is the owner of Nottingham-based gaming studio Crystalline Green, told the Guardian that added competition from around the world is affecting British SMEs.
‘‘As more and more people buy phones in Brazil, China and elsewhere, just as many people open up their laptop and download software and say ‘I am going to make a game’. Every man and his dog can do it and if often feels like they are, so you feel that intense pressure,’’ explained Coote.
There is also the added worry of funding. Economically, smaller businesses are in a completely different league compared to studio developers, including the likes of Electronic Arts and Rockstar Games, so UKIE are always campaigning to the government for more funding and tax breaks.
‘‘We need to open people’s eyes to the talent that exists here and the investment opportunities that the UK’s games scene presents,’’ explained Jo Twist, CEO of UKIE.