UK's Blitz Games Studios shuts up shop after 23 years

The Leamington Spa based studio has suffered due to the rise of mobile games, according to the founder.

One of the UK's longest-running games companies, Blitz Games Studios, has closed down, the BBC reports. The Leamington Spa-based firm had been in operation for 23 years, and employed 175 people. 50 of those will be kept on to work on unfinished projects.

According to co-founder Philip Oliver, the business had been struggling for years. But he's not bitter. "Nobody is angry, everybody's just very sad," he told the BBC. "We have tried everything."

So what happened? Oliver -- who set the company up in 1990 with his twin brother Andrew -- said their income had been decimated by the rise of mobile games, which are much cheaper than console games, or even free.

Blitz was responsible for a host of high profile tie-ins with characters such as Shrek, Spongebob Squarepants and Mickey Mouse, so you'd think it'd be safe. But according to Oliver, the budgets for games has fallen through the floor, with clients being reluctant to commit to long-term projects.

Microsoft and Sony also took too long to release their next-gen consoles, Oliver said. A new console always means payday for developers, with punters keen to stock up on games for their new machine.

Tiga, the trade association for video games makers, described the closure as a "bitter blow" to the games industry. "Blitz is an iconic British games studio," said Tiga's chairman Richard Wilson (not that one).

He said the Oliver twins had made an "enormous contribution to the UK video games industry", since their involvement started in the 1980s, when they worked closely with legendary publisher Codemasters. Wilson repeated Tiga's calls for tax relief for UK games companies, bringing Britain in line with Canada and France.

The government has said it plans to bring in tax breaks, but has been hampered by those pesky European Union regulators.

Are mobile games eating into the console market? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

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