Statistics released today by the British Film Institute show that 132 video games received final certification for VGTR in the first three quarters of 2018. These games had a combined UK / EEA spend of £94m, out of a total budget of £108m.
While slightly fewer games received final certification in this period compared to the same period last year, the data shows a greater drop for UK / EEA spend and overall budgets. The BFI noted that this is likely due to the fact that there were no video games with budgets greater than £10m certified so far in 2018, which was not the case for the same period in 2017.
Looking at interim certification, again slightly fewer games were certified so far this year, with 110 games certified in Q1-Q3 compared to 128 in 2017. However, there was a 17% increase in UK / EEA spend on these projects, rising to £346.5m so far in 2018 versus £296.3m the previous year. Due to a significant number of high-budget games receving interim certification so far this year, the overall budgets for these games was up a remarkable 190%, totalling £926.1m - although due to the international nature of these games, UK / EEA spend only represented 37.4% of the overall cost of production. As with previous years, the median project spend remains steady at £400k, as it has done since 2016.
While these figures show do slightly less games certified for VGTR year-on-year, the increase in UK / EEA spend on projects with interim certification is encouraging and highlights UK-based spend on larger international projects.
The video games tax relief remains an important incentive for UK games development, with the significant benefits to the industry and overall UK economy clearly evidenced in the BFI's recent Screen Business report, released at the start of the month.
As ever, Ukie encourages developers of all sizes to look at how they can qualify for the relief, the details of which are available via the BFI's website. In short, any game project that scores at least 16 points out of a possible 31 against the qualifcation criteria should be eligible for receiving up to 20% of development costs back (or 25% of the qualifying expenditure).