The UK gaming sector is dominated by independent brands developing game titles for mobile and tablet devices, according to new research by TIGA. The trade association, which represents the UK games industry, extensively studied British game businesses and found that 37% of all UK games studios are primarily developing game titles for mobile users.
“Increasingly studios’ preferred platform for games is mobile and tablet: almost two-fifths of the UK studio population now primarily make games for these platforms,” said Dr Richard Wilson, the CEO of TIGA. “The attraction of the mobile and tablet market to UK developers is clear. The mobile and tablet market is substantial and growing: sales of smartphones are expected to hit 1 billion globally in 2013.”
He added: “There are few barriers to entry in the mobile and tablet market, the cost of game development on these platforms is relatively low and it is comparatively straightforward for developers to update game content.”
The research comes in the same month that the International Data Corporation (IDC) announced figures that show mobile gaming will overtake handheld products in sales. Although the average revenue per user for handheld console games will be higher in 2013, players will be spending more money on tablet and mobile game apps. As the mobile gaming industry swells in popularity, there is more opportunity for the independent studios to turn a profit.
London based developer Hutch produced the title Smash Cops, which has generated more than 10 million downloads. “TIGA’s research shows that the UK games sector is shifting rapidly towards mobile and tablet games development,” said Shaun Rutland, the CEO of Hutch. “Smartphone and tablet gaming presents the greatest opportunity and our own experience at Hutch shows that the right game and business model can be extremely successful in this market.”
With the UK gaming market facing a potential boom, developers are calling on the government to introduce the Games Tax Relief as soon as possible. Dr Wilson described this as “vitally important” as the Relief “effectively reduces the cost of games production, improves access to capital and will stimulate the production of culturally British games.” TIGA have stated that the UK government has assured that they will be legislating for the tax breaks in the current Finance Bill.
In addition to this, gambling brands are calling on the government to re-think regulation on the industry, in order to support economic growth. The Rank Group, operators of Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino, have devised a ‘Game Plan’ report that shows how a different approach to the UK’s gaming policy could be beneficial. The Chief Executive of Rank, Ian Burke stated: “We believe that the over-arching role of gambling legislation should be to maximise the benefits to society and the economy while minimising costs.”
The report has been presented to over 150 members of parliament and states that greater support from the government is needed. In the ‘Game Plan’ Burke states that Rank and other gambling brands in the UK could “contribute a great deal more to life in Britain through job creation and economic development, revenue generation for government, our work in communities and our capacity to bring people together for shared experiences.”