UK games trade body TIGA issued another report today, following the worrying statistics that accompanied their cry for industry tax breaks the other week, showing a renewed focus for the industry on digital distribution over conventional retail models, and expressing firm support for the digital progression, outlining benefits to developers and publishers alike.
The report showed that 71% of start-ups between 2008 and 2011 focused exclusively on network gaming, with digital distribution providing their only source of sales, with 10% working on both network gaming and retail and 19 per cent of these new UK developers working exclusively on retail gaming. Furthermore, the report predicted that digital titles will grow at 21% every year between 2009 and 2015, compared to a retail model falling by over 3% per year over the same period.
"TIGA's new research shows that in the UK digital distribution is in the ascent and retail is in sharp decline," said TIGA CEO Richard Wilson. "Four-fifths of new UK game companies are working exclusively or in part on network gaming, such as mobile, massively multiplayer and social gaming. TIGA wants to see a flourishing developer and digital publisher sector, with rising numbers of start-ups and growing sustainable studios and declining business mortality rates. The rise in network gaming offers the opportunity to achieve these objectives."
Patrick O'Luanaigh, Chairman of TIGA's Self-Publishing Committee and MD of nDreams, said that self-publishing put power back in the hands of developers and, against the backdrop of these uncertain times, he unequivocally expressed support for the growing online trend, outlining plans for TIGA to produce guides to self-publishing and online development in order to better assist indie devs (who made up 80% of startups between 2010 and 2011) and digital publishers.
"For too long developers have laboured under the traditional 'give your IP away, never see royalties' model, he said. "So TIGA strongly supports the trend towards online gaming and self-publishing. Online gaming can deliver greater company stability and revenue sustainability for studios. This is because studios can circumvent traditional publisher business models and build relationships directly with customers. Network gaming businesses can create original games, retain their IP and attain greater financial stability.
"TIGA will help indie developers and digital publishers to take advantage of the shift towards self-publishing and network gaming. As part of this process, we will shortly publish the TIGA Guide to Self-Publishing which will provide useful expert advice for start-up studios. By helping start-ups navigate the challenge of self-publishing (and co-publishing), TIGA will help to realise its vision of making the UK the best place in the world to do games business."