The Independent Game Developers Association, the UK-based developer consortium more commonly known as TIGA, has found the number of independent development studios headquartered in the UK to be dwindling, down from 400 in 2001 to just 150 today.
According to a report
by the Financial Times, SCi Entertainment, owners of Eidos (Tomb Raider, Hitman
), is the latest to relocate beyond the UK's borders, with plans to open up a new studio in Montreal, a locale which offers wage incentives and tax benefits not available in the UK.
The new studio, first announced
in February and expected to house 210 development staff, is the latest to make the move to Montreal from other countries, following Electronic Arts (US) and Ubisoft (France).
Once SCi's new Montreal studio is fully staffed, only a fraction, about one-fifth of the company's nearly 800 developers, will be based in the UK. The shift is not unheard of for the company, with its flagship Tomb Raider
franchise now being helmed by California-based Crystal Dynamics and Hitman
, another strong franchise for the company, being developed out of Denmark.
“The UK still has a good talent base, but other places are making a concerted effort to draw talent,” commented SCi chief executive Jane Cavanagh, who reportedly noted that the company is also looking to expand further into other areas of the world, such as China.
Fred Hasson, chief executive of Tiga, echoed this sentiment as well. “People are beginning to question the skills base of the UK and the cost of being here. EA and Take 2, for example, have recently moved their European headquarters from the UK to Switzerland,” he stated.