In-house studios generate 5x more than independents

TIGA stats also reveal US is primary market for UK devs, plus average studio size is 51

Publisher-owned UK studios on average generate five times as much turnover as independently-owned developers, according to a survey of 78 companies released by TIGA today.

At 3,130,600 for self-owned developers versus 15,500,000 for acquired teams, the claimed disparity is enormous.

The survey also suggests that average development costs are significantly higher - 897,700 for independent studios, and 3 million for publisher-owned.

Also revealed is that the average UK independent studio size is 51 people, but 245 for publisher-owned outfits.

The importance of the US audience for UK-made games was also highlighted, with 72 per cent of British developers perhaps unsurprisingly naming that America as one of their most vital markets - but just 44 per cent saying the same of the UK.

88 per cent of the average workforce surveyed was male, and 88 per cent again was of UK origin.

The 'State of the UK Video Games Development Sector' report was based on findings from a catchment of 78 UK development houses. As just 4 per cent of those surveyed (approximately three respondents) hailed from publisher-owned studios, further analysis may be required to form a definitive picture.

TIGA has pledged to release further data from the full report as the week continues, though the complete findings may be purchased from its website.

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Latest comments (7)

Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief8 years ago
"Earns" is a little misleading. In financial parlance, earnings usually refer to the bottom line (i.e. net profits, after tax).

It's no surprise that publisher-owned studios make games with bigger budgets. What would be more interesting is whether they made higher profits. But that's a very difficult figure (probably impossible in practice) to get hold of.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship8 years ago
Could also be some selection bias at work - highly profitable independents quite often become acquisition targets.
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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard8 years ago
Midway Newcastle was listed in the Develop 100 chart this year thanks to earnings from Wheelman. The same studio, months before the chart was released, was liquidated by its parent company - the reason it was able to be liquidated was that it was "just" a development studio, not a publisher, and as such never made a profit.

Numbers are only meaningful until someone wants to squeeze them.

Taking this into account, are the Limited child companies of the publishers actually making a profit..?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by robert troughton on 9th August 2010 1:14pm

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Alec Meer Director, Rock, Paper, Shotgun Ltd8 years ago
Nicholas - it was a space issue in the headline box rather than a fact-massage. Adjusted now, thanks.
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Lucas Seuren Freelance, Only Network8 years ago
Not really shocking news is it? Small independent developer have less resources and as a result usually generate less revenue. And if an independent developer becomes very successful they get bought by a big publisher.

It would be interesting to see how much revenue and profit they make if you correct for the difference in size and budget. It's hard to compare a big budget title like Call of Duty to something small like Plants vs Zombies.
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"independent studio size is 51 people, but 245 for publisher-owned"

That is about 5:1 - the ratio of dev costs are about 4:1, and the ratio of revenue is about 5:1.
Looks about right to me?

Publisher owned studios spend more, make bigger games, and sell more copies.
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Do we have any good independantstudios as champions or pulling their weight above a publisher owned studio?
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