This week is the Game Developers Conference which is being in held in San Francisco this year. “GDC brings together 28,000 attendees to exchange ideas and shape the future of the industry with five days of education, inspiration, and networking…”. It involves the entire spectrum of people involved in creating the world’s “interactive games and immersive experiences”. If you’re lucky enough to be there – enjoy.

It is the event in the Games Industry calendar and is where UK’s successful Gaming Industry is being discussed internationally.

And it’s in great shape, or blowing up as Venture Beat describe it:

“You can’t talk about the Game Developers Conference (GDC) without discussing one of the most flourishing game developing ecosystems in the world: the United Kingdom. The U.K. is an internationally renowned start-up scene for innovative games and entrepreneurial developers of every stripe, from coders to designers to producers and developers – the kinds of artists who fundamentally shape the course of the industry now and into the future.”

How successful is the UK Game Industry, money-wise?

51.3% of our entertainment market sales in 2018 was in the Game Industry, beating the combined sales of video and music in a UK first.

This is worth an incredible £1.25bn to our GDP.

How many game development companies are there in the UK?

There are 2,280 game development companies in the UK. Double the combined total of France and Germany.

And British industry experts are leading the way across the board:

  • Blockchain powered Party MMO (Mythical Games) ‘Blankos Block Party’, developed by Third Kind Games
  • Ecommerce platforms, like Green Man Gaming, that is available across 195 countries.
  • Spatial simulation technology developed by numerous British companies to create more immersive virtual worlds
  • Virtual touch technology, by Ultrahaptics, gives users the feeling of virtual textures and shapes without requiring any controls or wearable devices
  • Massive hits: Grand Theft Auto, Monument Valley, LittleBigPlanet, Batman:Arham series and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture – to name but a few

Why is the UK Game Industry so successful?

The success of the UK Game Industry is partly down to the education of its members. 86% of its workforce have at least one degree. There are a number of government backed schemes that support the country’s investment in developing the expertise in this industry; from school to apprenticeships and TIGA accredited university degrees.

For example, NextGen Skills Academy is designed to help young people prepare for work in games animation and VFX. It’s a partnership between the government and investment from future employers. This means that the course curricula can stay nimble enough to keep up with the fast pace of the industry.

Video Games Tax Relief is a big incentive

Innovation is the cornerstone of the entire Games Development sector, always designing for the next thing. The UK government incentivises this with an industry specific tax relief – Video Games Tax Relief (VTGR).

40% of UK companies in the Games industry have a specific R&D budget. This can be boosted by applying for Video Games Tax Relief. Essentially, this takes the form of corporation tax credits and are available to any company based in the UK.

If your company and games fulfill all the eligibility criteria, this is worth around 20% of your total development and production spend. Or, if your Games project makes a loss, it is redeemable as 25% tax credit.

There are the details of exact costings and the BFI’s ‘culture test’ to sort out before you submit your claim. But the substantial amount you get back is well worth the time investment.

If you feel it’s better value to hire a VGTR expert, we can sort it all out for you. From checking eligibility, to submitting a fully maximised VTGR claim, we’ll work with your accountant to ensure that you get your full Video Games tax relief entitlement.


Jamie Smith