Now that I have a decent sample of the companies, I can start to release some more general information about the size and scale of the Irish Computer Games Industry.
I have been going through lots of contacts and sources and have currently got eighty different companies on my list that I am trying to reach. I’m not sure if about ten of these are still running, so I think an educated guess of 70 companies involved in games here in Ireland.
These have identified as operating in the following areas:
They also have identified as having the following jobs being worked in:
Part of the reason of doing this survey was to update the figures that Aphra got in her 2009 report on the games industry. At the time, she stated that from a 2002 starting point of 300 people working in the industry, the “Irish games industry grows 400pc in seven years“.
Now using this logic, we see that there were 1169 extra jobs in 2009 over those from 2002, which calculates as just under 390% growth in seven years. Based on the incomplete figures that I have so far which shows the following three years have added 1183 jobs (based on the current count of 2652), this means that there is at least a further 81% growth in the last three years. Aphra’s figure is high as it is derived from a small base over a long time, but the continued growth in the intrim is positive, as I know that a few of the bigger companies working in the industry still haven’t participated in the survey yet.
So by filling in some of the gaps with an educated estimate based on when various companies established in the country, this graph tries to give a rough idea of how the industry has been growing over the last decade. 2007 is a key year, as this is when a number of international companies started to establish or scale up recruitment in the country.
The graph above is based on some reported figures, with an estimate of growth for the years in between.
* This is based on incomplete estimates, so may end up being higher than this in the end.
A few more companies responded today, so here is a quick update. We’re up to 40 companies so far and this brings the numbers employed in games in February to over two and a half thousand
Update 1~ Update #7 are are available on GameDevelopers.ie. The blog will be dealing with the results going forward, but the results will always be posted in this forum first.
Thanks to everyone who responded to various Linkedin messages today, we got a burst of new respondants and an extra ten companies sent in their figures. Some of the estimates which were clarified and a number of small teams that I personally haven’t heard of before participated, so it’s great the word is spreading about.
There is still a long way to go, so any promotion or publicity of this survey would be greatly appreciated, thanks to SiliconRepublic for the plug.
The Irish market is made up of a mixture of incumbants and international games retailers, independent specialist retailers, online retailers and general retailers such as supermarkets. Therefore it is hard to estimate the value of retail sales in the Irish market directly as the sales are blended in with lots of other ones, but based on plenty of discussions with people in the industry over the years, I can take a relatively conservative and safe guess that it’s in the range of 6% – 8% of UK sales. The following therefore should represent a pretty accurate estimate since 2001.
These figures are released annually via the likes of ELSPA annual statements / TIGA / MCV / GI.biz, so with this in mind we can make some realistic guesses for the size of the Irish market. Now this generally includes stuff sold through normal and online retailers, covering games, peripherals, hardware and so on, but exclude a lot of the new online money that is being generated within the country, but spent with companies from abroad. So the reality is you could probably add at least an extra half to cover what people are spending online, if not double it when you also consider what’s being spent in casual games and facebook and iphone and android apps.
But lets look at what we do have.
So firstly we need to calculate the size of the UK market, before we can even start on the Irish one.
|Year||UK Sales £||£/€ Rate||UK Sales €||Population||UK Spend / Person|
|2001||£ 1,600,000,000.00||0.6262||€ 2,555,094,219||59,113,500||€ 40.20|
|2002||£ 2,074,000,000.00||0.652||€ 3,180,981,595||59,318,800||€ 49.87|
|2003||£ 1,260,000,000.00||0.70545||€ 1,786,093,983||59,552,200||€ 27.89|
|2004||£ 1,340,000,000.00||0.70725||€ 1,894,662,425||59,841,900||€ 29.44|
|2005||£ 1,350,000,000.00||0.6865||€ 1,966,496,723||60,235,500||€ 30.36|
|2006||£ 1,360,000,000.00||0.6735||€ 2,019,302,153||60,584,300||€ 31.00|
|2007||£ 1,720,000,000.00||0.7413||€ 2,320,248,213||60,985,700||€ 35.38|
|2008||£ 4,034,000,000.00||0.961||€ 4,197,710,718||61,398,200||€ 63.58|
|2009||£ 3,311,000,000.00||0.8914||€ 3,714,381,871||61,792,000||€ 55.90|
|2010||£ 2,880,000,000.00||0.86131||€ 3,343,743,832||62,262,000||€ 49.95|
|2011||£ 2,520,000,000.00||0.83514||€ 3,017,458,151||62,732,000||€ 44.73|
And with this information we can judge the Irish market.
|Year||IE € Estimate (7%)||Population||IRL Spend/Person||Versus UK|
|2001||€ 178,856,595||3,917,200||€ 45.66||13.59%|
|2002||€ 222,668,712||3,979,900||€ 55.95||12.19%|
|2003||€ 125,026,579||4,045,200||€ 30.91||10.81%|
|2004||€ 132,626,370||4,133,000||€ 32.09||8.98%|
|2005||€ 137,654,771||4,232,900||€ 32.52||7.11%|
|2006||€ 141,351,151||4,339,000||€ 32.58||5.10%|
|2007||€ 162,417,375||4,422,100||€ 36.73||3.80%|
|2008||€ 293,839,750||4,459,000||€ 65.90||3.64%|
|2009||€ 260,006,731||4,470,700||€ 58.16||4.03%|
|2010||€ 234,062,068||4,484,300||€ 52.20||4.51%|
|2011||€ 211,222,071||4,497,900||€ 46.96||4.98%|
And based on these sales, lets see what that contributed, just in VAT (excluding all the rates, corporation tax, paye, prsi etc)
Given that Ireland had been booming for much of the period, we have one of the youngest and most internet and games connected populations in Europe, I think that the 7% rate used above is ok to go with, but here are the ranges either side.
|Irish Sales (6%)||VAT||Irish Sales (7%)||VAT||Irish Sales (8%)||VAT|
|€ 153,305,653||€ 32,194,187||€ 178,856,595||€ 37,559,885||€ 204,407,538||€ 42,925,583|
|€ 190,858,896||€ 40,080,368||€ 222,668,712||€ 46,760,429||€ 254,478,528||€ 53,440,491|
|€ 107,165,639||€ 22,504,784||€ 125,026,579||€ 26,255,582||€ 142,887,519||€ 30,006,379|
|€ 113,679,745||€ 23,872,747||€ 132,626,370||€ 27,851,538||€ 151,572,994||€ 31,830,329|
|€ 117,989,803||€ 24,777,859||€ 137,654,771||€ 28,907,502||€ 157,319,738||€ 33,037,145|
|€ 121,158,129||€ 25,443,207||€ 141,351,151||€ 29,683,742||€ 161,544,172||€ 33,924,276|
|€ 139,214,893||€ 29,235,127||€ 162,417,375||€ 34,107,649||€ 185,619,857||€ 38,980,170|
|€ 251,862,643||€ 52,891,155||€ 293,839,750||€ 61,706,348||€ 335,816,857||€ 70,521,540|
|€ 222,862,912||€ 46,801,212||€ 260,006,731||€ 54,601,414||€ 297,150,550||€ 62,401,615|
|€ 200,624,630||€ 42,131,172||€ 234,062,068||€ 49,153,034||€ 267,499,507||€ 56,174,896|
|€ 181,047,489||€ 38,019,973||€ 211,222,071||€ 44,356,635||€ 241,396,652||€ 50,693,297|
As most of the sales are towards Christmas, the exchange rate I’m using is the ECB reference €/£ rate from the 1st working day in January, and applying that rate to sales from the previous year. UK populations are from the UK Census Office, and Irish are from the StatBank Ireland / Central Statistics Office.
Please keep in mind the console life cycles when looking at this data, 2001/2002 were the big sales years for PS2 and Xbox, 2008/2009 is Wii/PS3/X360. So consider that these years have a higher proportion of hardware sales vs software sales, than later years in the cycle.
Welcome to the Irish Computer Games Survey. This blog will host the information from the survey being run at http://tinyurl.com/irishgamesindustrysurvey and we are trying to get a count of everyone who worked in the games industry in February 2012. This includes developers, publishers, middleware companies, localisation companies, qa companies, indies big and small, ex-pat developers, people working in retail, the distribution chain, repair companies, gaming centres and any other form of company whose primary purpose is making money from computer games.
The same week as jobs announcement below, Dare to Be Digital was launched at the Department of Enterprise, Paul Hayes and the guys at Games Ireland ran the GIG 2012 and the games industry was put in a positive light, but the following few weeks have been the flipside of the coin with the demise of Jolt Online in Dublin, redundancies at Blizzard in Cork and the unexpected collapse of GAME Ireland.
‘The following actions will be undertaken in 2012 in respect of Digital Games. We will:
7.7.1 Establish a Clustering Development Team to support the implementation of actions called for in the Forfás Games Strategy including those below. (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
7.7.2 Convene an R&D supports workshop to promote awareness about available R&D supports and issue an enterprise friendly guide on R&D tax credits to include examples of relevance to games companies. (Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland)
7.7.3 Support industry in working with third level institutions to introduce a pilot game development/publishing ‘hothouse’ initiative for undergraduate and Post Leaving Certificate courses. The initiative will bring together, in multi‐disciplinary teams, students from games, multimedia and animation courses (from a range of participating PLC and third level colleges) to work together on a game development project for a defined period. Each of the teams will receive mentor support from industry practitioners. (Clustering Development Team with industry)
7.7.4 Undertake a feasibility study to examine what structures and policies could be developed to make Ireland a world centre for managing and trading in intellectual property. Complete the report of the Copyright Review Committee on barriers to innovation. (DJEI, DJE)
7.7.5 Assess the case for a new financial instrument/relief to incentivise creative content development. (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
7.7.6 Progress measures in relation to Next Generation Broadband set out in earlier section.
We need to then look into 7.7.1 in some more detail and look at the Forfás Action Play for The Games Sector in Ireland: An Action Plan for Growth
It’s goals are
1. Developing an International Cluster – stimulating connectedness between related sectors, nationally and internationally.
2. Enhancing Skills and experience – addressing short term needs and building a continuous feed-stock of creative, technological and commercial capabilities.
3. Accelerating growth in creative content development – attracting and developing the talent pool – creating the dynamic environment.
4. Building International Visibility – raising Ireland’s visibility as a vibrant location for the games sector.
5. Driving R&D and Innovation – incentivising innovation within Irish based firms, anticipating future needs.
6. Delivering Next Generation Broadband – underpinning future growth with the provision of widely available, competitively priced advanced broadband services to homes and businesses.
The games section sits alongside these general goals
- Cloud computing – including a Cloud Computing Strategy for the Public Service and establishment of a research centre in cloud computing
- Establish a cluster development team for digital games
- Establish industry clusters in these targeted sectors
The Government’s stated goal is to double the size of the industry in two years time, so by February 2014. Nice goal, but considering nobody actually knows how many people overall work in the industry, I would like this to be the starting point.We can then judge the progress, and see the growth of an eco-system of dozens of interacting companies grow, not just one or two sectors. So this survey will find out the state of the industry now, see what companies are doing, how many people are working in them and then we can start counting from there.
An educated guess sees 50 games devs/publishers/middleware and about 15 other companies including dedicated gaming centres, repair and rental businesses, retailers and distributors who have all or a majority of their revenue coming from games. We will take responses from people who do something else primarily but also generate revenue from games, but these will be sat alongside the results, not mixed in with them.
So we started the survey and have had a good response so far, but know there are a lot more companies out there who have not responded. If you work in a company and are reading this, your HR manager or your CEO are the main people we need to get to fill this survey in so send them the link!
Thanks for reading, and come back regularly for updates!