It's been a tough year for the UK games industry, with major studios such as Lionhead and Evolution shut down – even if the latter team was fortunately kept together by Codemasters. But there are concerns that following last night's Brexit – in which the British people voted against staying in the European Union – there could be harder times ahead.
While concerns across the country – and, indeed, globe – are far reaching and complicated, we'll stick with the games for the purposes of this article. And according to Piers Harding-Rolls, a director at analyst IHS Technology, there's a possibility that UK gamers may end up paying more for future consoles – such as the forthcoming PlayStation 4K.
"The impact of Brexit on pricing depends on whether the exchange rate impact is sustained for a long period of time and whether it moderates after this initial shock," he told Eurogamer.net. "There has been at least one example in the past where UK pricing has been increased, specifically for console hardware, in response to a weak pound. Any currency exchange rate swing is more likely to impact console hardware pricing over software."
Harding-Rolls tempered that the competitive nature of UK retail means that prices will likely get driven down regardless, but if the value of the pound does continue to decline, then that could lead to international manufacturers such as Sony increasing the initial cost of their hardware in order to make up the deficit.
Of course, there's also concern about whether publishers will continue to invest in the country. PlayStation has an enormous base of operations in London, as well as first-party development teams in Cambridge, Guildford, Manchester, and Liverpool. So, what will become of those now that the UK's decided to opt out of the EU – as well as the many other studios around the country?
"Multinational games companies may reduce their investment given uncertainty around the economic and cultural mood which could ensue," cautioned former UK Interactive Entertainment chairman Andy Payne. Harding-Rolls said that he doesn't expect much change in the short or medium term, but the vote may prevent British developers from successfully recruiting talent from around Europe. "That could have implications for our competitiveness versus other leading centres of games development," he said.
Not good, then. Well, various UK-based developers are remaining bullish, with both the Wakefield-based Team 17 and Oxford-based Rebellion noting that the results may lead to uncertainty in the immediate future, but there's no reason to panic yet. Ultimately, we need to see how the coming changes affect the industry before we can say anything with conviction.
Perhaps the only certainty is that all of this, er, uncertainty could have been avoided. Alas!