As the or­gan­i­sa­tions that mon­i­tor the health of UK game de­vel­op­ment have changed over the past ten years, so has the shape of the data they pro­duce. It makes con­sis­tent com­par­i­son of the UK scene over time test­ing for even the most de­voted an­a­lysts, but there’s enough to go on to get a sense of the di­rec­tion in which the re­gion is mov­ing.

In 2005, nowde­funct trade body ELSPA re­ported that 22,190 peo­ple worked in games within the UK, some 6,000 of those at stu­dios. At the time that rep­re­sented a year-onyear climb over­all, but a fall in num­bers ac­tu­ally mak­ing games. Some ten years later, the trade body had be­come UKIE, which, work­ing with in­no­va­tion char­ity NESTA, found 1,902 game com­pa­nies in the UK in 2014 – an in­crease of 22 per cent over two years, and a fig­ure that, con­sid­er­ing stu­dio sizes, sug­gests a par­al­lel in­crease in head­count.

UK in­dus­try body TIGA, mean­while, found in its own re­search that across 2013/14 clo­sure rates fell by 30 per cent, while through­out 2014 in­dus­try head­count climbed some ten per cent across the UK. For 2016’s num­bers to be pooled and pub­lished, the wait will go a good way into 2017, but this year fol­lows con­sis­tent growth in terms of the num­bers of peo­ple and com­pa­nies mak­ing games in the UK, against an un­cer­tain eco­nomic back­drop.

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