Games companies invest record development spend in UK as highest ever number of games are supported by VGTR, new figures reveal

A record 247 video games received final certification for Video Game Tax Relief (VGTR) in 2019, according to new figures released today by the BFI. 

UK spend on games reaching final certification for the relief reached £582.6m, up 189% from £201.9m in 2018. 

This acceleration in UK development spend in 2019, spurred by the culmination of the current console cycle, also highlights the importance of the UK industry in the global games production supply chain, with high budget international products investing significant expenditure in the UK. 

This is clear in the data from the significant rise in overall product budgets (quadrupling to £1.16bn) and the related proportion in UK expenditure shifting from 76.5% to 50.2%. This indicates that development work in the UK is an integral part of multinational projects that may otherwise have been made elsewhere. 

This tallies with the findings of the BFI’s ‘Screen Business’ report. It showed that 63% of VGTR-supported games would not have been made in the UK (or perhaps at all) without the benefit of accessing the relief. It also supported over 9,240 games jobs in 2016, 

Importantly, the UK’s position at the heart of the global games industry supply chain provides enormous regional economic benefits across the UK - as outlined in our recent report ‘Think Local, Create Global’. 

The culmination of the current console cycle is also likely seen in the reduction in games receiving interim certification, from 174 to 134 in 2019, as business prepare for the arrival of the next generation of hardware.

Read more on the BFI’s website here.