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92% of UK games firms expect a profitable 2017

TIGA survey also reveals 88% will be hiring, but 70% predict their costs will increase

UK trade body TIGA is trying to spread a little optimism this morning with the results of its annual Business Opinion Survey, with most respondents confident they will turn a profit by the end of this year.

The 2017 survey was based on 50 developers based around the nation - 2.5% of the 2,000-plus active games firms currently operating in Britain according to UKIE's UK Games Map.

Of the 50 firms surveyed, 92% expected a healthy year in terms of net profits, with 64% of these companies predicting their profits would rise. The remaining 8% expect profits to fall. 72% of participants report that their studio was performing either "very well" or "well" by the end of 2016, up from the 67% of firms in the same position during last year's survey. Only 6% said their company was performing "badly" or "very badly".

However, this optimism is offset by the 70% that believe their company's costs will rise over the next 12 months - a much higher result than the 56% seen in TIGA's 2016 survey. 24% believe costs will remain the same, with a hopeful 6% expecting them to fall. Those costs are not necessarily going to be passed on with only 40% of surveyed businesses planning to raise prices for their customers over the coming year.

62% report that their business is currently operating at full capacity, but a further 88% plans to grow their companies' headcount this year, potentially meaning plenty of job prospects for those looking to take the next step in their career in 2017. This is up from the 72% that expected to be hiring in 2016.

Half the respondents are also optimistic about investing more into their business in 2017, referring to R&D, training, new games development and so on. This is slightly down from the 54% reported last year. 30% said their outlook was unchanged, while 20% were less optimistic about the opportunity to invest.

Looking at the potential obstacles to growth and profit in 2017, 34% cited discoverability as a crucial issue while another 34% said access to finance was limited. However, elsewhere the survey hints at mixed opinions on financing with 32% expecting their to be no change in how their businesses access finance this year. 24% believe it was less difficult to gain funds in 2016 than in 2015, while 12% believe it was more difficult and 24% did not know.

That said, 64% of the 50 firms that responded believe the UK's economic and business environment is favourable to the games industry, thanks in part to the video games tax relief approved a couple of years ago.

How is your 2017 shaping up? Let us know in the comments below.

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