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TIGA's 5 Point Plan

How to grow the UK independent developer and digital publishing sector in 2012

At TIGA we know what we stand for: developers and digital publishers. We know what we want to achieve: to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. And we know how to accomplish this: by enabling developers and digital publishers to set up and grow strong, sustainable, independent businesses.

The UK games industry is changing. Many publisher-owned studios are closing down, downsizing or, like Square Enix/Eidos, investing heavily overseas. Traditional work for hire practice is giving way to new business models. Digital distribution is in the ascent. Retail is in decline. Developers have access to more options in terms of platforms, genres and distribution than ever before. There has been a big rise in start-ups - and closures: between 2008 and 2010, 145 games businesses set up, but 131 closed down.

With the rise in both studio start-ups and failures over recent years, the key strategic question facing the UK games industry in 2012 is clear: how do we support the growth and viability of more independent content creators and digital publishers?

At TIGA our mission is to fight for the interest of game developers and digital publishers and to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We instinctively understand the needs of indie-developers and digital publishers: TIGA is itself a small business and is run by UK developers and digital publishers for UK developers and digital publishers.

At TIGA we know that the status quo of publisher dominance is coming to an end. TIGA believes that the trend towards digital distribution represents an opportunity for UK developers and digital publishers to reduce their over-dependency on overseas publishers. Given that a fifth of UK developers have worked on a game that has been cancelled before the project was complete - with damaging repercussions for the studios in question - reducing this reliance is vitally important.

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. If this vision is to be realised we need action on five fronts: counsel, connections, costs, careers, and cash. We intend to take action in each of these sectors.


Many business failures are due to management mistakes. Management weaknesses can be overcome by accessing expert counsel. So during 2012 TIGA intends to provide professional business advice to developers and digital publishers. We will: publish a TIGA Guide to Self-Publishing to help developers set up their own studio and publish a game; introduce a free consultancy service delivered by TIGA board members for new TIGA members; and Patrick O'Luanaigh, CEO of digital publisher nDreams, will now take over as Chairman of TIGA's Self-Publishing Committee to provide information and advice for developers who are focused on self-publishing. TIGA will help developers acquire the skills necessary for digital distribution.


Many of the new studios set up in the UK over the last two years are focused on mobile and tablet platforms, and are making games for the casual market. Studios need opportunities to build connections in order to promote their services and develop new business contacts. TIGA plans to hold events during 2012 focused on mobile and tablet devices, raising finance, and self-publishing; Mike Hawkyard, from 4T2 and chairman of TIGA's Casual Games Committee, will spearhead a conference on casual games; and we will hold our regular industry networking events at the Holyrood and Westminster Parliaments in 2012.


TIGA research shows that two-fifths of developers and digital publishers believe that the cost of game development is holding back their business. TIGA already has dozens of discounts on key industry services, ranging from accountancy and legal services and QA on the one hand, to licenses, recruitment fees, PR and audio services on the other. In 2012 we intend to secure further savings for TIGA members to enhance the competitiveness of our members.


The UK games development sector has an excellent workforce and includes many superbly talented and creative people. However, we also have skill shortages; some developers have difficulty accessing skilled programmers, designers and managers.

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