The coronavirus crisis has not impacted the video game industry in the UK hugely as first expected, as it has been reported that more than half of companies reporting no risk of closure in the coming months.
Ukie, a trade association for the industry in the UK, has published its first “Playing On” report, which is where these findings are found. It commends the sector which has “risen to the challenges raised by the current pandemic, rapidly adapting to new ways of working and maintaining very high levels of productivity throughout difficult circumstances, without over-reliance on governmental and public funds for support.” However, it did mention that the industry is facing “ongoing day-to-day strain” as a result of the pandemic, this means the welfare of developers, cancellation of events to showcase their titles and restricted networking possibilities.
Ukie’s Playing On report concluded that:
- “Overall productivity in the industry remains high, with businesses working at 80% productivity during the worst of the COVID crisis.”
- “45% of games businesses have seen some increase in game revenues since the crisis started, with a further 4% reporting significant increases.”
- “Just 24% of games businesses of all types used dedicated government financial support during the crisis, with only 17% using the furlough scheme.”
More than half of all respondents reported no risk of closure in the next six months, and almost a quarter of games businesses said recruitment continued in spite of the pandemic. 80 per cent of games companies in the UK have no intention to make employees redundant as a result of economic shrinkage from the coronavirus crisis either.
This is great news, but it does come with some downsides, as there is some concerning findings. More than two thirds of respondents believe that future publishing deals will be “negatively impacted” by the pandemic’s impact, and that these delays may affect their total earnings for this year. “56% of games companies are experiencing difficulties securing investment in the coming six months as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, with 24% believing that these difficulties will be either significant or potentially business critical.”