The UK gaming industry is bullish for 2017 in the face of Brexit

 
Lynsey Barber
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Virtual reality is taking off and mobile gaming continues to grow (Source: Getty)

Brexit may be casting its shadow over 2017 and beyond, but the UK's multi-billion pound gaming industry is bullish.

The industry is expected to grow even amid uncertainty over the economic climate as mobile gaming continues to grow and virtual and augmented reality take off.

Businesses are more confident now than they were this time last year when it comes to employment while more than half say they are optimistic about their prospects in 2017.

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The survey from gaming industry body TIGA found that 88 per cent of the 50 respondents from gaming businesses small to large, plan to grow their workforce this year, compared to 27 per cent a year ago.

"2017 is set to be another exciting year for the UK video games industry. We will see more startups, more existing firms expand and more innovation and growth in the sector," said Jason Kingsley, the boss of Oxford-based games developer Rebellion.

More businesses were also positive about their profit outlook for the year, 72 per cent predicting an upward trend versus 67 per cent in 2016.

In terms of investment, half said their outlook was more optimistic than last year, a slight fall from 54 per cent who said the same last year.

The industry is worth $3.8bn in the UK with and estimated 31.6m games players in the country.

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Three factors are driving growth according to TIGA chief executive Dr Richard Wilson: a growing market in the UK, which is already the sixth largest in the world; mobile, tablet and PC gaming continuing to spread along withe the rise of VR and AR; tax relief doe video games developers.

"Video games tax relief, which TIGA played a decisive role in achieving, is fanning the flame of growth. It effectively reduces the cost and risk of games development and it incentivises investment and job creation in the games industry. Games tax relief is predicted to create 2,800 new development jobs and £331m in investment between 2016 and 2020," he said.

More businesses are expecting to incur higher costs - 70 per cent compared to 56 per cent twelve months ago - however, though some of that may be passed on to customers: 40 per cent expect their prices will rise compared to 38 per cent a year ago.

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