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TIGA survey suggests UK indies are far from self-sufficient

TIGA survey suggests UK indies are far from self-sufficient

July 17, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

UK game industry trade association TIGA released a funding report earlier this month that offers some insight into the contemporary state of the UK games business.

The topline takeaway: Very few UK-based indie developers are entirely self-sufficient, and the vast majority accept some form of third-party financial support.

To back that up, TIGA claims that 100 percent of survey respondents have accepted funding from a third party (a publisher, a grant provider, a crowdfunding campaign, etc.) in the past three years, and 97 percent had accepted such third-party funding in the past 12 months.

When asked to estimate what percentage of their costs in the past 12 months were covered by outside funding, survey respondents reported an average of 62 percent. 37 percent of respondents said all of their costs were covered by milestone payments, grants or other sources of outside funding, while 79 percent reported that third-party funding covered at least half of their costs.

If you develop games -- in the UK or elsewhere -- you already knew this, of course. Funding is one of the biggest challenges developers face. A plausible motivation TIGA had for putting this info together is to wave it in the face of politicians to agitate for more tax breaks, something it has done in the past with some success.

However, that doesn't mean the report lacks useful information for developers. It includes breakdowns of common UK game development funding options. It also offers a selection of interviews with regional industry funding authorities like London Venture Partners' David Lau-Kee, whose firm recently launched a Europe-focused venture capital fund for game startups.

It's worth noting that the report was produced in conjunction with Google, written by TIGA and Games Investor Consulting, and based on publicly available data as well as responses culled from a survey of 38 UK-based independent game developers of varying sizes that TIGA conducted back in May.

The trade association took pains to state that the survey's sample size isn't large enough to make the report a statistically significant indicator of the UK industry, but the fact that the full report outlines some basic studio funding strategies makes it worth reading for developers curious to better understand the scope of their funding options.

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