According to Ukie, the overwhelming majority of British games firms previously backed remaining in the EU. How will Brexit influence gamedev in UK?
According to Ukie (via Develop), the recent decision of UK to leave UE will have a profound effect on local game development scene, but the companies are strongly inclined to continue working in new circumstances. For those of us not from UK: Ukie is the only trade body for the UK’s games and wider interactive entertainment industry. It’s a non-profit organisation.
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Ukie is committed to ensuring the UK is the best place in the world to make and sell games, and although this decision and the political uncertainty it brings will have an impact on our businesses it is important to remember that we are already a globally successful sector and a leading exporter in the digital economy.
Jo Twist, Ukie CEO
Interestingly enough, previously Ukie held a vote among its members. It revealed that UK game companies overwhelmingly supported remaining a member of the EU. 80% of developers and publishers were against Brexit. However, overall the majority of the UK population (52%) voted for leaving the Union.
“Ukie will continue to work hard with colleagues in government to ensure we continue to have the best possible business environment and we will be following developments closely as well as advising members as they unfold”.
Jo Twist, Ukie CEO
Impact on Film
UK film and TV industry feels like Brexit will damage the business. The chairman of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) Michael Ryan described the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU as an event that is “likely to be devastating” (via The Verge, Variety).
The decision to exit the European Union is a major blow to the U.K. film and TV industry. Producing films and television programs is a very expensive and very risky business and certainty about the rules affecting the business is a must. This decision has just blown up our foundation — as of today, we no longer know how our relationships with co-producers, financiers and distributors will work, whether new taxes will be dropped on our activities in the rest of Europe, or how production financing is going to be raised without any input from European funding agencies.
Michael Ryan, IFTA Chairman
It should be noted, that almost 300 prominent artists, actors, writers, and musicians from UK signed a letter backing the Remain campaign.
Brexit and Video Games
UK is one of the biggest game producers in Europe. The country is home to a whole bunch of different game companies including Bossa Studios, Creative Assembly, Criterion Games, Fireproof Studios, Games Workshop, Rare Ltd, Playground Games, Rockstar Games UK, Stainless Games, Traveller’s Tales, Team17 and a whole bunch of others. This country was home to some of the biggest projects in game history including LittleBigPlanet, Fable, Burnout, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Crackdown, Destruction Derby, Elite, DmC: Devil May Cry, Driver, Grand Theft Auto V to name a few.
Though as time goes by, UK was gradually loosing its leading positions in European gamedev scene. According to the last years survey among the attendants of GDC Europe, UK is considered to be making only 25% of games in EU, loosing to Sweden. Developers also stated that 10 years ago, UK was eligible for almost 60% of the whole game development in Europe.
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To be totally honest, around the morning when I saw the news I was quite devastated. Especially when I saw the news regarding pound going down, as it directly impacts my lifestyle, the way i work, etc. At this point of time I can only hope that things will become more stable so I will be able to continue working in UK. Otherwise, I’ll have to find new game development opportunities elsewhere.While it was impossible to get a lot of comments from the UK game developers, most of the people we’ve talked to, who are involved in game development, were strongly opposed to the final decision of the referendum. Some of them are afraid of the upcoming changes, calling it “the dumbest move UK ever made”. Financial reasons seem to be the major concern, as the dropping pound really hurts the salaries.
Alex Zem, Environment Artist
It’s one of the few industries we’ve got left which actually has a global customer base. Selling the product (i.e. the games) won’t be a problem although will be tougher until the new trade agreements are laid out. What might be a problem is attracting talented staff. If the UK economy continues taking a dive, there’s little incentive for Devs to work here or even freelance. We run the risk of training up highly skilled staff only for them to move overseas chasing better long term opportunities. That said, all the time the studios are fun places to work and churn out quality games people will want to work there and the world will buy their games.
Greg Gillies, Director, Pond Group Ltd
We’ll be updating this story with more opinions as they come. If you want to share your opinion – please use comments. We’d love hear more on the topic from our UK readers.