UK Developer Codemasters Creates 125 New Jobs

UK developer and publisher Codemasters announced before the Birmingham Science Park Aston’s LAUNCH event that they will hire over 100 employees. They’ll also bring an additional 25 employees to join the 120 strong Birmingham division of Codemasters, who are best known for the Formula One series of racing simulators. The rest of the employees will be based in the company’s HQ in Warwickshire.

Simon Miles, Talent Acquisition Manager for Codemasters, attributed this increase to the success of recent games:

“The success of our recent games and our plans for the future means that Codemasters will continue to see growth as we expand our teams here in the Midlands. The skilled talent pool in Birmingham, along with the support available for developers in the area, and across the Midlands generally has created a dynamic and creative local business community. We are looking to recruit staff from the region as well as enticing some new employees into the city as well.”

Gaming Bus reached out to the The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA), which represents the UK video game industry. The CEO of TIGA, Dr. Richard Wilson, made the following comment:

“It is excellent news that Codemasters and other developers are planning to increase staff levels in the UK games industry. Employment in the UK games development sector declined by 10 per cent between 2008 and 2011 as investment and job opportunities drifted away to overseas jurisdictions with favourable tax incentives. TIGA campaigned for a tax break for games production to enable the UK games industry to compete on a more level playing field. Now that the Coalition Government has agreed to introduce a tax break for games production we can look forward to an increase in investment and employment in the UK games development sector. This announcement by Codemasters is great news for the West Midlands and for the UK and is a positive harbinger of things to come.”

This comes as welcome news to the Birmingham City Council as it attempts to increase growth of the tech industry in the West Midlands.

Analysis: This news comes hot on the heels of the UK’s tax break to video game developers and is good news all round for video gaming in the UK and in general. Codemasters is one of the companies I respect as they’re primarily independent of the large publishers and are privately owned, which means less interference from stockholders in the general running of the company.

While they attribute the growth to the success of “recent games”—which I assume are Dirt 3 and F1 2011, both with over 1 million sales each—I’m willing to bet, as Dr.Wilson of TIGA mention,) that the recent tax break by the UK government is the main reason. Dirt 3 released in May of last year and F1 in August/Septemeber. Bodycount was released in September and poor sales and reviews meant Codies had to lay off 70 people and close their Guildford studio. If the success of Dirt 3 and F1 2011 without tax breaks were enough to cover the failure of Bodycount, I doubt they would’ve closed the studio down.

Mohamed Al Saadoon

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