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TIGA survey: A nation of iPhone developers

New survey shows UK developers adapting to brain drain and rising costs

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, has released data gathered during its annual survey of game developers. A total of 104 development businesses took part in the survey, including 75 TIGA members.

The loss of development talent to countries with tax incentives will be a familiar concern to anyone who follows TIGA's activities, and the survey results prove that it is still a key issue for the industry: 74 per cent of participants supported the tax breaks for UK developers, and nearly 20 per cent claim to have lost employees to countries with better government support.

Around 40 per cent of developers have difficulty in financing their projects, and 20 per cent claim to have worked on a project that was cancelled within the last year.

In the period covered by the survey a number of major UK studios have closed, including Realtime Worlds, Bizarre Creations, Black Rock Studios and THQ Warrington. This trend prompted Codemasters' Andy Wilson to warn that the UK is becoming a nation of "iPhone developers" - a divisive prospect, but one that is borne out by the data.

Nearly half of all participants now self-publish some or all of their own games; of that number, 67 per cent have done so for the iPhone, and 45 per cent for the iPad. The PC is next with 41 per cent, followed by Facebook with 31 per cent.

The popularity of digital console services among self-publishing developers seems to reflect the claims of Omni-Labs' Rudolf Kremer: 31 per cent of participants have used the PlayStation Network, versus 16 per cent on Xbox Live Arcade and 12 per cent on WiiWare.

While new platforms are growing in popularity, traditional retail is still the primary source of income for 50 per cent of surveyed developers.

However, 47 per cent of developers say their games are also sold online shops like Xbox Live Arcade and the App Store, and alternative business models are becoming more important to overall revenue: 29 per cent of developers use the free-to-play model, 27 per cent make money from in-game advertising, 26 per cent use micro-transactions, and 13 per cent have paid subscription services.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.