Employment in UK games industry up for first time in three years

This morning we reported on more doom and gloom surrounding the state of the games industry, with new figures showing that sales of hardware, software and accessories continue to decline. But research from UK gaming body TIGA suggests the sector is getting into better shape on our shores at least, with industry employment rising for the first time in three years.

The non-profit trade association announced the findings today, based on an extensive survey of UK games businesses and analysis from various industry consultants. The headline figure reports a four per cent rise in employment within the games development sector between 2011 and 2012, ending the three year decline in this area.

This was allied by an increase in annual investment from games studios from £411 million to £427 million, as jobs within studios grew from 8,888 to 9,224, and jobs supported by studios rose from 16,250 to 16,864.

Despite the nation’s sustained economic troubles, the gaming sector’s contribution to UK Gross Domestic Product increased from £912 million to £947 million.

Following the report, TIGA’s CEO Richard Wilson said, "The UK economy may be on the verge of a triple dip recession but the recovery in the UK games development sector has taken off. Employment, investment and start-ups are up. The games development industry is growing again."

Wilson claims the return to growth has been driven by three factors. “Firstly, the increasing prevalence of mobile and tablet devices have created a growing market for games: studios are setting up to meet this demand. Secondly, the closure of big console based studios has been followed by an explosion of small start-up companies.

“Thirdly, the advent of Games Tax Relief, which TIGA was instrumental in achieving, is already stimulating growth. Games Tax Relief effectively reduces the cost of games development and it has contributed to inward investment by major international games companies including Activision Blizzard (The Blast Furnace), Gree (Gree UK), Konami (PES Productions) and Microsoft (Lift) in British studios in 2012.

"Jobs and investment in the games industry are set grow further once Games Tax Relief comes into effect from April 2013,” Wilson predicted.