Despite the UK’s video games industry growing at the fastest rate in a decade, it still faces significant challenges in respect to access to finance and highly skilled people, according to Dr Richard Wilson, The Independent Games Developers' Association’s (TIGA) chief executive.
The industry has grown to record levels over the past year, according to TIGA who calculated that 1,740 jobs were added to the sector, which is now generating tax revenues of £907m annually and contributing £2.2bn to UK GDP. Based on these figures, the trade association has called for the Government to "retain and enhance Video Games Tax Relief" to encourage investment, which has stalled during the pandemic.
During a recent interview with Sky News, the Chief Executive of games studio Rebellion, Jason Kingsley, said that things were continuing to grow despite the pandemic:
"The good is that everybody is up and working well, mostly from home, but some from the offices where it can be done safely. Game productivity is looking good for new titles like Zombie Army 4 and Evil Genius 2 which will be released early next year. Most people seem to be coping well, with video calls and family interruptions being the norm now on calls!"
While productivity is good at Rebellion, the worries that surround TIGA’s pleas to the Government stem from the sector still facing significant challenges, particularly in accessing finance and highly skilled people. Dr Richard Wilson said that 73% of the UK's games studios were extremely small, having four or fewer full-time staff, and 40% of studios have closed down over the last decade.
"We should introduce a Video Games Investment Fund and strengthen the UK Games Fund to improve access to finance," Dr Wilson suggested.
He called for the government to "strengthen industry-university links, enhance skills and training and enable UK games companies to recruit highly skilled workers from the EU and beyond".
He also warned that Brexit could deprive UK companies of access to talented European workers, who account for a significant minority of the sector's employees.