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UK Gaming Industry Positioned for Strong Growth in 2017

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Let it never be said that video games aren’t productive. The video game industry apparently contributed £1.2 billion to the UK’s GDP in 2016, reveals a survey conducted by The Independent Game Developers’ Association. The good news doesn’t end there, though, with 88 percent of video game-based UK firms expressing plans to grow their workforce over the next year.

Pooling together responses from over 50 small, medium and large video game firms developing across mobile, VR, PC and console, TIGA’s Business Opinion Survey 2017 shows promising signs of the industry ramping up on investment and employment.

Among other notable statistics, 50 percent of respondents expressed a positive outlook on investment in R&D, training, new games development, etc.  Another 72 percent reported that their company was doing well, with 64 percent forecasting that the economic and business environment in the UK will lend itself to an upward trend in their company’s net profits over the next 12 months.

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TIGA CEO Richard Wilson attributed the heightened growth to three key causes: a rapidly burgeoning consumer market, spurred investment prompted by the popularity of new consoles, PC games, Virtual Reality, etc., and the implementation of Video Games Tax Relief, a UK law measure that aims to to reduce the cost and risk of game development while incentivizing investment.

Jason Kingsley OBE, who is TIGA chairman and CEO as well as creative director at Rebellion, added the following:

“2017 is set to be another exciting year for the UK video games industry. We will see more start-ups, more existing firms expand and more innovation and growth in the sector. I am especially delighted that Video Games Tax Relief, a measure that TIGA consistently campaigned for over many years, is helping to drive growth in our sector.”

It’s not all roses and daisies for the industry, though. According to the report, more can still be done to make the UK more favorable to start-ups. Among the respondents, 34 percent said their business are still constrained by limited access to finance and capital. Another 34 percent noted that “discoverability” poses a significant challenge, while 16 percent perceived significant skills shortages and gaps.

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Other shortcomings in the industry seem to include lack of VR-ready hardware, localisation challenges, scaling business operations, management capacity, peaks and troughs in work, and an increase in prices for consumers as costs for developers go up.

Still, it would seem the UK is on the right path in bringing prosperity to gaming. After all, this is the place that brought us gems like Grand Theft Auto, Worms and the Batman: Arkham games. It’s safe to say there’s room for at least a few more gems in there.

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