Has Working From Home Impacted The Bristol Housing Market?

Within the games industry, there has been a massive shift to working from home. With the ability to complete tasks remotely, the transition has been easy.  Having to work from home has changed what people look for in a real estate property. Some people who do not have office space are now willing to move to a neighbourhood with a lower cost of living and are more likely to buy larger apartments and houses with a space to have a home office. According to BBC News, 70% of people surveyed (YouGov) thought that it’s likely we never return to the office at the same rate as before the pandemic.   People are not tied down to specific geographic locations and are willing to give up their current offices and move to quiet neighbourhoods with a lot of indoor and outdoor space.

 

 

As more game companies have a work from home policy, what people look for in a home is changing. Many people are now searching for homes in lower cost of living areas to make improvements. They are also looking for a better environment. In addition, a lower price for the living area will allow you more money to invest in a house. Moreover, they can afford to relocate to a city or town, which may not have been possible if they still worked in the office.

 

 

With a rise in working from home, house prices in Bristol are rising at a fast rate. A recent study by Zoopla found that the average cost of a semi-detached property in Bristol was £354,382, up 16% from last year. Terraced properties, which are also popular with home workers, were £323,867 on average. The figures are encouraging, but the future will remain uncertain.

According to the data, Bristol house prices rose 20 per cent last year. The prices of property in Bristol have increased by nearly half in the past decade. However, while costs have gone up in most parts of the country, some local areas have seen a faster increase than others.

In Bristol, UK, House prices rose by an average of £1,000 in March, with the city being the hottest place to live in the UK outside of London. However, the figures show that house prices have only increased six per cent a year despite the recent housing crisis. In contrast, Nairn, Scotland, was the region with the smallest increase in house prices during the same period. However, a study by Rightmove shows that the number of homes selling in Bristol has increased five per cent compared to the same time last year and is projected to rise by another seven per cent by the end of 2021.

 

 

With the rise in working from home, house prices are rising, and the number of households moving has increased. As a result, more people choose to work from home, reducing the demand for office space. The increase in the number of workers from home has led to the rise in house prices. It is estimated that one in four workers in the UK now work from home, which drives up house prices. The average salary of these new residents is also growing.

This trend is likely to continue as the UK’s economy grows. Gaming is a great industry to work in, and working from home does have its benefits, but the question is, when working from home and needing more space is, can I afford to move?  Whilst working in the games industry in a sector that is thriving and looks to continue to thrive.  Do you have to ask yourself questions such as how much would my mortgage be if I move up the property ladder? Or how do I calculate the payments? If I need to re-mortgage, what would the increased cost be?  Then the question is, if I stay where I am in case we move back into the office to work, can I make overpayments onto my mortgage, or if you haven’t bought a home yet, what mortgage can I get on my salary?

Working in the games industry has never been more exciting since being on the property ladder or just starting.

 

SUPER ICON NEEDS YOUR HELP

Our History So Far…

I began developing games back in the late nineties – Xtreme Racing on Amiga was my first game, and ever since then I have only ever worked at my own development studios.

Starting with Graphic State, which initially was a sub-contract artwork studio, later moving into handheld game development on the Gameboy systems. This then evolved into Icon Games, focusing on small-ish console games on Playstation and Wii.

I then founded Super Icon in 2012, with a focus on creating the games that I wanted to make, rather than trying to ride the coat-tails of current popular games or casual games. The focus was always trying to make great games, as good as we possibly can – games that people enjoy playing. Like many other small indie developers, we’ve had ups and downs, but I think the games we’ve made are the best of my career so far. Our first proper release was Life of Pixel on Playstation Mobile.

Back in 2016, after the release of Life of Pixel on Steam and our Battlezone type shooter Vektor Wars, we decided that it would probably be best to partner with a publisher going forward. Our sales numbers were low, and we failed quite badly at building any sort of interest in the games. They didn’t completely tank, but the numbers were bad, and not enough to sustain a business.

At the time we had just finished a Kickstarter for another game, Best Buds vs Bad Guys, and managed to get a little income in to complete the development. During the Kickstarter I started chatting to a great bunch of guys at a studio called Whitemoon Dreams, in particular its CEO Jay.

The upshot was I explained we were not having much success at selling/promoting our games, and they agreed to act as a publisher on Life of Pixel and Best Buds going forward, to take them over onto Playstation and Switch.

We worked together with them, releasing Super Life of Pixel onto Playstation 4 and Vita in December 2018. Also, during the development phase, we pitched another title we were making, called Platform Maker. After a fair few rejections, we finally found a publisher, pQube. We renamed the game to PLATAGO, and it was released onto Steam Early Access in 2018.

Fast forward to 2019…

  The Current State of Play

So, here we are. Unfortunately, despite most players seeming to enjoy Super Life of Pixel, the sales on Playstation have been DIRE. So bad, in fact, that Whitemoon have decided they are unable to continue publishing for the time-being. As such, in the first quarter of 2019, we have seen our income pretty much completely grind to a halt.

Our income wasn’t much before, and we have had several very tough times since the later Icon Games period onwards, where we’ve had little or no income for months at a time. This time though, it is all a little different, I’m kind of burnt out. I’m also getting on a bit, I’m 46 this year, with a family, including three great kids who are now that much older, and it is tough for them.

I think being a penniless indie develop is a younger person’s game! Certainly not conducive to maintaining a stable family life and keeping the wolves from the door.

  A Tough Decision

So, I have come to the decision that, unless this year things improve and we break this cycle, I don’t think I am able to continue making games.

I love making games, but there comes a time when you think if no-one wants to play your games, and you can’t support your family – perhaps it is time to re-evaluate.

Another thing I have done over the last couple of years is develop and pitch other games – the first a horror game called The Tower, the other an Action RPG called They Came from Beyond. The plan was to make sure we continued to maintain revenue once we completed the on-going projects.

I pitched both to various publishers, and they were both rejected. I stopped work on The Tower, as without funding it was just too ambitious. There is a blog for it (updated until I stopped working on the project):

I continued with They Came from Beyond, for the following reasons:

  • I love the game and believe in it
  • I have enjoyed every second of developing it
  • Although larger in scope than our other titles, it was still a realistic scope
  • It is my last chance, perhaps, to continue making games

You can download the in-development build for free from itch.io:

Alas, I can’t get any interest in it at all, which kind of breaks my heart. I’ve also been working on it now for 15 months, completely un-funded, so there is a big personal commitment there.

So, there we are, but I do have a request…

  If You Like Our Games, Support Us

We need your help!!

If you like any of our games – Life of Pixel, Vektor Wars, PLATAGO or like the look of They Came from Beyond – can you help us spread the word?

Without more support and a much larger community of followers, it will be impossible for us to continue making games. We just can’t continue without income – and I’ll be honest, it is a constant gut punch to try and continue developing when everything you do fails.

So, if you can – spread the word – help get us a little more known. Join our community on Discord or elsewhere, tell other gamers, sites or anywhere you think might be interested in our games. Without more followers, and more people buying our games, we’re done.

This was a tough post to write, and I hope it doesn’t come across in the wrong way – I just don’t know where else to turn. If anyone out there plays and enjoys our games, and wants us to continue making games – well, we can’t do it without you now.

Richard Hill-Whittall, March 26

  Links

You can follow us in the following ways:

Website:                             https://www.supericon.co.uk/

Blog:                                    https://supericonblog.tumblr.com/

Twitter:                               https://twitter.com/SuperIconLtd

Discord:                              https://discord.gg/vPBTFtf

Instagram:                         https://www.instagram.com/supericonltd/

Facebook:                          https://www.facebook.com/SuperIconLtd/

Youtube:                            https://www.youtube.com/user/SuperIconLtd