Game Republic

Best games studios share common success factors

Small, mid-sized and large studios share common favourite features according to analysis of nominations made for best studio in the Game Republic 20th Anniversary Awards.  Awards will be announced on GameDevDay on 23rd November 2023 at Tileyard North. The Awards form part of the programme of events being supported by Official Partners Barclays, Red Kite Games and Escape Technology. The best Studio Awards have been sponsored by Lenovo, Barclays and Eaton Smith Solicitors and reveal key success factors that teams, fans and peers appreciate most when it comes to judging a games studio.

What makes a successful Small Games Studio?

Best Small Studio sponsored by Lenovo was the most popular category of Awards. Common features highlighted across nominations were the friendliness and supportive nature of the studios, and for many, pride in their achievements often punching above their weight in what they were creating. Many studios nominated were also collaborating and some had emerged from or were closely connected to their local Universities. Jamie Sefton MD of Game Republic believes that Universities and colleges provide a great starting point for studios  “Many small studios emerge from Universities and colleges. When educational institutions support start-ups and new game developments with their own studio sites or incubators like Canalside Studios, Steel Minions for example, that can really help too. The Game Republic student showcase every year also demonstrates what good student teams can produce in their final year and it is great to see teams and graduates emerging from this with the drive to create their own studios and their own IP. Of course another major factor is funding or investment at early stages for these studios to thrive.”

Best Small Studio Award sponsored by Lenovo nominees include Alternative Software, BetaJester, Boneloaf, Cardboard Sword, Claymatic Games, Cooperative Innovations, Cosmic Key, Distinctive Games, Dreaming Methods, Fat Kraken, Five Aces, Fruity Systems, Huey Games, Labrador Studios, Laser Dog/Playstack Leeds, Reflex Arc, Revolution Software, Sigtrap Games, Silent Games, Thunkd, Tripunk, Triplevision Games and Valorware 

Nicki Hayes Business Development Manager at Lenovo for UK&I Workstation Team said “What was clear from the nominations is how much motivation and shared passion forms such a big part of success for small studios. It was great to read all the nominations and see how much that drive plays a part not only in what incredible projects are created but also in how people feel about where they work.”


word cloud on best small studio, highlighting key words like creative, people, local, innovative, friendly,original, proud
Word cloud from best small studio nominations

Key features for Success in Mid-Sized Games Studio

The Barclays sponsored best mid-sized studio showed common themes that combined the excitement of being part of a larger and growing team but a studio that still hadn’t let go of its roots. Elaine Dowman who heads up Barclays Games and Creative was not surprised by the comments “The nominations showed that for studios to succeed when they are mid-sized is that they don’t lose track of their roots but have a firm eye on growth which seems to build up excitement and drive within their teams.” Best Mid-Sized Studio Award sponsored by Barclays
nominees include 10:10 Games, Draw & Code, Just Add Water Ltd, Radical Forge, Rebellion North, Red Kite Games, Ripstone
Rockstar Leeds, Staffordshire University – Bulldog Studio, Tanglewood Games and XR Games

Best mid-sized studio word cloud highlighting benefits, size, people, projects
Word cloud highlighting words from the best mid-sized studio nominations

What makes for success in a Large Games Studio?

The nurturing environment and the supportive nature of the company was key to the Eaton Smith Solicitors sponsored category of Best Large Studio. Whilst there was obvious pride at producing global titles, the company ethos in leading industry wide good practices and positive change came out as a very strong team.

Chris Taylor of Eaton Smith Solicitors explains “It is wonderful to see such a breadth and depth of games studios in Yorkshire and the North of England, showing what a well-developed ecosystem there is. The quality of the businesses that have been nominated for the Best Large Studio category is evidence of the strength and creativity of the game development industry up here in the North. Continuing our dedication to helping those in the games industry with their studios’ legal needs, Eaton Smith LLP have been proud to support Game Republic in these fantastic awards and have been very pleased to sponsor the Best Large Studio.” Best Large Studio Award sponsored by Eaton Smith Solicitors
nominees include d3t, Double Eleven, Firesprite, Sumo Digital, Team17, TT Games and Ubisoft Reflections

Game Republic’s Dr Jackie Mulligan sums up the nominations “The common features linking all the studio nominations were the shared passion and creativity cultivated withing the companies, and so no wonder that they go on to produce amazing experiences. It is clear that no matter what the size of the games company, how people feel and are treated within companies will lead to better talent retention and success more than anything else.”

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