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UK studios become smaller, more numerous

TIGA study sees rise of microstudios as small teams become majority

A study by UK trade body TIGA has illustrated a continuing trend towards larger number of small development teams in the UK, with organisations of less than five people now making up the majority of the nation's gaming industry.

Publishing its annual Making Games in the UK Today report, TIGA highlights a huge increase in the number of active studios in the country, jumping from 448 in 2012 to 620 a year later, but also notes that many more of these are now very small operations. UK games outfits with four or less permanent personnel now make up 59 per cent of all studios, a leap of nine per cent from the year previous.

TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson cites a shift to mobile development as at least one defining cause behind the changes.

"In Alice in Wonderland fashion, the UK games development and digital publishing sector has achieved the apparently impossible feat of expanding and shrinking at the same time," says Wilson. "On the one hand, the number of studios expanded from 448 in 2012 to 620 in 2013. On the other hand, the proportion of studios with more than five or personnel shrunk from 50 per cent to 41 per cent over the same period. This is a direct consequence of the UK games' industry increasing focus on mobile as the primary games platform. "The surge in start-up studios is encouraging, but many of these will be vulnerable because of their size. TIGA's focus now is to help developers grow their businesses by ensuring that governments create a favourable environment for the industry and by providing quality networking events, professional business advice and access to partners, publishers and investors."