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UK games industry returned to growth in 2012

Employment and investment rose year-over-year, research suggests

UK games industry trade association TIGA has published research indicating that employment in the development sector grew by four per cent in 2012, bringing a halt to three years of declines.

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The research, which is based on "an extensive survey of UK games businesses", also found that annual investment by studios was up from £411 million in 2011 to £427 million in 2012.

Here are the key findings (between 2011 and 2012):

  • Creative staff in studios grew from 8,888 to 9,224
  • Jobs indirectly supported by studios rose from 16,250 to 16,864
  • Studio numbers rose from 329 to 448
  • Direct/indirect tax revenues generated by the sector for the Treasury increased from £376 million to £400 million
  • Annual investment by studios rose from £411 million to £427 million
  • The sector's contribution to UK Gross Domestic Product increased from £912 million to £947 million.

TIGA CEO Dr 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.

"The sector's 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."

The UK government said in December that it will introduce a tax relief of 25 per cent for selected games in development. The tax break is expected to come into effect after this week's budget report.

Games studios large and small will be able to take advantage of the state aid providing their projects meet certain cultural requirements (CVG's analysis).

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