Finance for game developers: helping you create a best seller
The gaming industry offers exceptional opportunities. We can help you find the funding you need to take advantage of themSpeak to one of our experts020 4525 5312
- Leasing hardware and software with no upfront costs
- HP from 6%
- Spread costs 6-60 months
- We can often undercut ’0%’ deals from equipment suppliers
- Cashflow support
- Working capital
- Secured funding - from 2% above base rate
- Balloon payment options - reduce monthly outgoings
Growing your business
- Export funding
- Raising funds with a commercial mortgage 2% above base rate
- Secured lending
- ‘Jigsaw’ funding
The UK has a long history of creating world class video games. With a global games audience estimated at around 2.6 billion people with a total value expected to grow to $143.5 billion by the end of 2020, opportunities for the UK games industry have never been greater - if you have the funding you need.
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The UK is not only the world’s 5th largest video game market, it has more than 2,000 companies whose business is creating games. They include world-class talent across all games technologies - from mobile, PC and console, to new sectors such as VR / AR, e-sports and Artificial Intelligence. Gaming is so important to the UK economy that it even has a special tax concession, Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) for qualifying games businesses.
It’s an exciting market. Setting up a business to create games offers exciting opportunities if you have technical knowledge, a creative flair and an entrepreneurial approach. But the biggest challenge of all will be getting the finance you need.
The funding that is right for your games business can depend on the games you want to create. A simple Android or IOS game could be done by a single person at cost of man-hours alone. A full production multi-console and PC game could take a team of developers and artists a decade of development. Their skills could cost tens of millions of pounds.
Conventional funding is suited to conventional businesses – where products are sold, and income comes in almost from the day they open their doors. The games industry is very different. You need innovative solutions that can help you get through months or even years of development time.
At Rangewell we can help you find the finance you need.
The funding you need
You may have long-term ambitions to become a major games developer, but you are unlikely to produce something on the scale of GTA V as your first project. You will probably plan your first titles with a development time of a few months.
Even once you have dealt with the set-up costs, your games business will generate no income until your games find players. You need a source of funding to keep you afloat and pay staff and suppliers during the development stages - which can last for months.
You will need to provide for the costs – salaries, premises, equipment and overheads - during that time, until your first title is ready to ship or for download via platforms such as Steam.
Understanding your funding options
Fortunately, there are solutions for all these costs. At Rangewell we have found that the key to successful funding is to identify the right type of funding option for each purpose.
You need funding to allow you to:
- Set up a new business
- Access grants
- Provide working capital until you start to generate profits
- Acquire premises
- Acquire equipment and assets
- Deal with tax
Setting up a new games creation business
Setting up any business will take investment. Raising finance for a start-up is never easy and very often involves ‘sweat equity’. This means founding and building a company from your personal resources, and hard work. You’ll need to support your own efforts with business finance.
There are two main types of business lending:
Secured Loans are ‘secured’ because the lender will require security in case you cannot pay the loan back. This could be your home or other business assets that you may have. They can be used to borrow large sums of money, of £250,000 or more. These may be appropriate for many of the large costs you will encounter in the early stages of establishing your business.
Unsecured Loans can be suitable for smaller sums, from £5000 upwards, although some lenders will not let you borrow more than one month’s turnover with an Unsecured Loan.
Buying an existing gaming business, perhaps because it has existing valuable titles or IP, could shorten your own development times or even offer an already established revenue stream.
However, the costs may be substantial, depending on the assets it already has and the skills of the staff who will stay with the business.
If you’re a games developer with a great idea for a game, a team in place to make it and a passion to build a great business, you may want to apply for support from the public sector.
The UK Games Fund has been created to help stimulate growth in the industry by supporting companies to become more diverse and innovative, create new IP and grow in strength and size. The UK Games Fund offers prototype grant funding following the UK Government’s pledge of £8m of funding to the industry back in 2015. The UK Games Fund also offers assistance through access to expertise, work areas, management and networks. The Skills Investment Fund is a match funding scheme for training in games and other creative sectors.
Similar funding may be available in Scotland.
With grant funding, government funds may need to be matched with commercial funds. At Rangewell, we can help you find lenders who can help you raise the cash you need to demonstrate the commercial viability of your business, allowing you to access further funding from the government.
Working Capital and Growth Finance
You will still need funding while your new business develops its first titles. Lenders usually require an established trading history and record of profits when they are considering funding for conventional businesses.
Fortunately, at Rangewell, we can help you find funding during the development phase.
There are a number of options:
- Publishers, clients and the business angel network can often provide funding for the important first months of the company. Gaming companies are often supported by trade partners which provide funding in return for development contracts and ownership rights. This can either be in the form of royalty advances to cover project costs, or paid on a milestone basis as a percentage of net revenue.
- There are specialist private equity funds with a strong focus on the gaming industry.
- The business angel network is also active and is well suited to the gaming industry.
- It is also possible to arrange working capital as a commercial loan. Working Capital Finance is designed to provide the operating expenses, from staff costs to supplier bills, while cash flow is slow. It is usually designed to be repaid in the short- to medium-term, once your games business is fully on its feet with an established income stream.
- Find out more about Growth Finance here.
Funding for premises
Your business will need premises. You will need space for each developer, and you may also need studio and meeting space. A tech hub may be able to provide a suitable environment - but even a serviced office or studio suite will require an upfront payment.
If you want to move straight into your own office complex, you will also have additional costs, including power and business rates to budget for.
Renting may be unavoidable in the early days. However, renting premises restricts what you can do with your space, means ongoing costs, and puts your business at risk of rent increases. Buying premises with a Commercial Mortgage could be a sound investment. If you already own your premises, a Commercial Mortgage might also be a cost-effective way to raise funds to use elsewhere in your business.
Find out more about a Commercial Mortgage.
Funding your equipment
You will need the full range of conventional office equipment, as well as high-powered purpose-built workstations with multiple monitors. You may also need additional equipment such as production quality microphones.
There will also be substantial costs for software, such as Photoshop. You will also need other software tools such as Autodesk, Maya, Unreal Engine 4 and Visual Studio. Some of these may be available as freeware, but the most current version is always the best, and if you are making commercial products, you might need to pay to use them.
Asset Finance - Hire Purchase and Leasing - can help make virtually any type of equipment you need affordable. Asset Finance works by making the equipment or ‘asset’, the security for the loan itself. This means that if you were unable to repay, the lender could simply repossess it. This reduces the risk to the lender and consequently the cost to you.
There are several types of Asset Funding:
Hire Purchase lets you spread the cost of buying the equipment you will use for the long term. Arrangements generally last between 6 and 60 months. You pay a deposit plus fixed monthly instalments for the agreed term, after which the assets become yours. At Rangewell, we can often help set up HP agreements that undercut those of equipment suppliers, or which let you take advantage of the lower costs of pre-owned equipment.
Finance and Operating Leases
Finance and Operating Leases work like rental agreements and let you spread the cost of equipment with no upfront payment. This type of finance could be the best option for equipment which will have a limited life. You can simply return it to the finance house at the end of the lease, leaving you free to update to the latest technology. This may be particularly appropriate to the gaming sector, where the pace of technological change is rapid and the latest spec machine is essential.
Tax Loans - helping deal with demands
Whatever your revenue stream, you will face quarterly VAT or annual tax demands. These can cause serious problems with your cash flow. Tax Loans help you to spread the cost of your tax demands into affordable monthly payments.
- Better control of cash flow
- Fixed monthly payments
- Quick and simple to arrange
- Avoids issues with HMRC, potential penalties and professional liabilities
Find out how a Tax Loan could help you smooth your tax flow.
Equity and Mezzanine Funding
Many lenders will simply not be able to lend you sufficient funds for major costs. Building a state of the art studio, or funding a major production may cost several million pounds.
Equity Funding could provide the scale of funding you need. There’s nothing to repay because you are basically selling a share in your business. It can mean losing control of your company – it will certainly mean sharing all future profits with your investors. Equity investors make their return from your growth.
It may be feasible once you have established your reputation within the industry by producing some successful titles, but may have the drawback of diluting your control of the business. You may not be prepared to make creative compromises to placate an investor impatient to see a return.
Mezzanine Finance might provide another way to raise funds. A lender will provide the investment, secured on the future of your business. They will offer a high level of funding, but you will need to repay the debt and interest charges. If you fail to repay, they will have the right to take an agreed proportion of equity interest in the company.
Find out more about how Mezzanine Finance can offer a high level of funding.
How we help you capitalise your gaming business
At Rangewell, we work with businesses throughout the gaming sector. We understand your business and the potential it offers, as well as the challenges you face.
We can use the expertise we have built up to help you find the financial solutions you need to capitalise your business, whether you want to fund your start-up, capital expenses, working capital or growth.
As well as conventional finance products, we can help you find Alternative Funding, using new loan providers and styles of funding. We know the lenders who can offer the most competitive rates for the sector. Whether you have a straightforward finance need, or require a complicated ‘Jigsaw’ funding plan made up of a combination of products, we can work with you to find the answers.
Call us now to get our experts working for you and the future of your gaming business.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Arrange funding to help an partnership support the development of a new multi-player title
Provide a lease arrangement to equip a startup, with no upfront capital payment
Find the most competitive loan to let a small games studio maintain cashflow until release of a new title
Help find finance for a small channel to buy an independent production studio
Source a Commercial Mortgage to allow a games company to buy its premises
Discover our range of finances
Every type of finance for every type of business
Our goal is very simple - to help businesses find the right type of finance as quickly, transparently and painlessly as possible.
Helping you build your profits
Lending tailored to the needs of your businessWe can help you find the most appropriate finance for any stage of your business development, letting you make the big repayments when your business has started to grow.
Protect your cashflowBorrowing funds as you need them - rather than trying to deal with costs from your operating budget - can help protect your cashflow.
Asset funding reduces riskMost lending must be ‘secured’ on an asset of some kind that the lender may take if you don’t keep up the payments. If you were unable to repay the lender could simply repossess the equipment to cover their loss. No other assets are at risk.
‘Jigsaw’ fundingA single type of finance may not be enough. We can help you set up jigsaw finance - with the most appropriate type of finance for each particular need - to help you build your business.
Scaled for serious businessesMezzanine Finance providers look at large scale businesses with £3 million valuation as a minimum.
Specialist lenders for the gaming sectorSome asset funding providers may specialise in particular sectors. At Rangewell, we can help you find the most appropriate lenders for the games sector.
Download Rangewell’s free and detailed guide to Finance for the Gaming Sector
What types of finance are there - which do you need?
Why not all providers are equal - finding the one that’s right for you
How we can provide an additional income stream
The downsides to finance - and how to avoid them
How to arrange finance - what paperwork do you need?
Key terms explained
What finance options are available to gaming businesses?
Business finance terms explained - including monthly payments, finance agreement, finance company, subject to status, credit agreement, monthly repayments, interest rate.
Can I use finance to help fund gaming pc equipment for my business?
Is business finance only available to UK residents?
Does my registered business or home address need to be in England to qualify for business finance?
I accept debit or credit card payments in my business, does this mean I could consider funding solutions such as Merchant Cash Advance?
Will I have to agree to terms and conditions when I apply for finance?
What does it mean to be regulated by the financial conduct authority?
Am I able to spread the cost of finance over 12 months or longer?
Do certain finance products depend on the types of payment method I accept in my business?