The UK gaming industry is booming, recent global successes include:
- Grand Theft Auto V: the most successful worldwide entertainment product of all time including movies (grossing $1bn worldwide in just 3 days), also the Number 1 top selling game of all time in the UK both in terms of units (5m) and value (£208m). (GfK Chart-Track)
- Batman: Arkham City developed by Rocksteady Studios, winner of multiple awards, including the 2012 BATFA for Best Action game.
- Monument Valley downloaded over 26 million times and winner of 20 international awards, including Apple iPad Game of the Year 2014 and the 2015 BATFAs for both Best Mobile & Handheld.
The global games market is expected to grow to a total of $118.6 billion by 2019 (Newzoo) and while the UK has a large slice of that pie (we are 6th largest video game market in the world) there are still opportunities to further our hold on the gaming industry.
Despite the rapidly growing market, developing a video game is still extremely competitive and a lot of hard work. One of the biggest struggles is managing the high cost of the build and development up to the point the game is finished and can be sold. Many game creators run out of funds before the game has a chance to generate revenue, but there are options available to help.
With this in mind, for the month of October we are focusing on the gaming industry, tax credits and other funds available. We have put two WardWilliams Creative clients who have benefited from the funding process, under the spotlight. This week we spoke to Tanguy Dewavrin of Atom Republic about his experience in the industry, Virtual Reality and where he gets his inspiration.
Focus on Gaming: Atom Republic
Atom Republic is an independent developer and publishing studio who have been making content for virtual worlds since 2012. With this experience, they have set out to create their own virtual world called Atom Universe: a free-to-play virtual community for PS4 and PC, set in a theme park. Players can customise their avatars’ clothes and accessories, chat, and play mini-games.
What is your experience of Research & Development Funds or Gaming Tax credits, how did you find the system worked for you?
“WardWilliams Creative helped us claim R&D and we are in the process of claiming the game tax credit with their help again. It takes a long time! There is a lot of red tape to go through, but it’s worth it in the end. WardWilliams Creative patiently helped us jump through all the hoops, they are also helping us claim VAT back, which will help our cash flow”
“We wanted to make a world where players can socialise, but also a bit more of a game: we wanted to appeal to casual gamers as well as social gamers. That’s why we set the world in a theme park where even if your friends are not around, you can still have fun playing bowling or going on a ride.”
Where did the inspiration for Atom Universe come from?
“The inspiration came initially from our experience of making content for virtual worlds like PlayStation Home or Second life. We wanted to make a world where players can socialise, but also a bit more of a game: we wanted to appeal to casual gamers as well as social gamers. That’s why we set the world in a theme park where even if your friends are not around, you can still have fun playing bowling or going on a ride. Also there is a slight futuristic edge to the game’s art style: this way we can justify that in our world, we have the technology to do anything we want: from fancy clothes to holograms to teleportation, futuristic vehicles, locations and so on.”
Who are the characters?
“There are no non-player characters: each character is the avatar of a real person. And because it is available worldwide, you always have hundreds of people in-game, that you can meet at any time of the day or night.”
Can you tell us more about your involvement with Virtual Reality?
“Our first venture into the realm of virtual worlds was with Sony’s PlayStation Home, where we quickly became one of the most innovative and fastest-growing developers on the platform. Now we want to push the boundaries to the next level, turning our attention to the next generation of consoles, creating a truly exciting experience for all to enjoy. We are VR-compatible: we tested the game with PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but the VR is not implemented in the public release yet. It is still in early stages of development.”
How can WardWilliams Creative help?
“WardWilliams Creative helped us claim R&D and we are in the process of claiming the game tax credit with their help again. It takes a long time! “
If like Tanguy, you have a game that is innovative in some way, such as developing virtual reality or other new gaming technologies then you could get a rebate from HMRC for up to 230% of the money spent on the development. Talk to us about research and development relief available. There are also creative industry tax credits just for video gaming, not as generous as the R&D but still a big help in getting cash back into your company. There are also smaller grants available via UK Games Fund. We can help process, manage and advise on claims, so please do get in touch.
Next week we catch up with Pete Low at Rhizome Games about his experience with the UK Games Fund and where he digs up his ideas.