TIGA: 71% of UK startups focused on digital distribution

Digital distribution is the future in the UK -- for the sake of a lot of jobs, it had better be. UK game industry trade organization TIGA issued a new census report today, revealing a heavy focus on downloadable or social games.

71% of UK game company startups between 2008 and 2011 are "focused exclusively on network gaming," the report indicates. Taking all of the UK industry in consideration (not just new companies), 67% work on digitally distributed games.

"For too long developers have laboured under the traditional 'give your IP away, never see royalties' model," said TIGA Self-Publishing Committee Patrick O'Luanaigh. "So TIGA strongly supports the trend towards online gaming and self-publishing. Online gaming can deliver greater company stability and revenue sustainability for studios. This is because studios can circumvent traditional publisher business models and build relationships directly with customers. Network gaming businesses can create original games, retain their IP and attain greater financial stability."

We suspect this boost in digital gaming involves two major factors: the rise of iOS and Android games, and the end of large UK game companies like Bizarre Creations.
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80 per cent of new UK Games Companies Focused on Network Gaming

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, revealed today that 67 per cent of the UK games development sector is working either exclusively or in part on network gaming – mobile, massively multiplayer, social and online gaming. Only 33 per cent of UK game companies work exclusively on retail games. The findings are based on a survey conducted by Games Investor Consulting in 2011 of 75 per cent of the UK's games businesses and published by TIGA in Making Games in the UK Today: A Census of the UK Developer and Digital Publishing Sector.

Key findings from the Report include:

71 per cent of start-ups between 2008 and 2011 are focused exclusively on network gaming, while 10 per cent work on both network gaming and retail. Just 19 per cent of these new UK games development businesses work exclusively on retail gaming.
Across the British games industry as a whole, 67 per cent of British games companies now work either exclusively or in part on network gaming.
Network gaming is projected to grow at 21 per cent every year between 2009 and 2015 (versus retail gaming which is falling by over 3 per cent per year over the same period).
Network gaming grew in 2010 to represent 44 per cent of the global video games software market.
80 per cent of new start-ups between 2010 and 2011 are independent developers.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

"TIGA's new research shows that in the UK digital distribution is in the ascent and retail is in sharp decline. Four-fifths of new UK game companies are working exclusively or in part on network gaming, such as mobile, massively multiplayer and social gaming. TIGA wants to see a flourishing developer and digital publisher sector, with rising numbers of start-ups and growing sustainable studios and declining business mortality rates. The rise in network gaming offers the opportunity to achieve these objectives."

Patrick O'Luanaigh, Chairman of TIGA's Self-Publishing Committee and MD of nDreams, said:

"For too long developers have laboured under the traditional 'give your IP away, never see royalties' model. So TIGA strongly supports the trend towards online gaming and self-publishing. Online gaming can deliver greater company stability and revenue sustainability for studios. This is because studios can circumvent traditional publisher business models and build relationships directly with customers. Network gaming businesses can create original games, retain their IP and attain greater financial stability.

"TIGA will help indie developers and digital publishers to take advantage of the shift towards self-publishing and network gaming. As part of this process, we will shortly publish the TIGA Guide to Self-Publishing which will provide useful expert advice for start-up studios. By helping start-ups navigate the challenge of self-publishing (and co-publishing), TIGA will help to realise its vision of making the UK the best place in the world to do games business."

TIGA's report, Making Games in the UK Today: A Census of the UK Developer and Digital Publishing Sector provides important information about the state of the UK video games development sector, with data on employment and the structure of the industry and its economic contribution. The report is available on the TIGA website: www.tiga.org

This article was originally published on Joystiq.