Can the British gaming industry be great again?

The growth of the Canadian games industry is often held up as an example of what happens when a government actively engages in attracting talent with financial benefits.

"I think the long promised tax break, if and when that might appear, will be significant," added Houlihan. "You look at Canada who made a real effort to reach out and make it a positive place for games developers with plenty of tax breaks and relocation stuff and that's what it will take.

"It's an international industry and the best people will go where the work is."

Banks of fun

Another factor could be the need to convince the most talented British developers to avoid the big cash benefits of the finance world for the lower paid but potentially more exciting world of games.

"At my company, Frontier, our primary competition for developers has been from the banks. It comes down to money versus pleasure," explained Braben.

"We've had stands opposite Goldman Sachs who, it's fair to say, pay better than we do. But a lot of the people who choose money start to think in five years or so 'what did I do?'.

"By then people are in a position where it's very difficult to go back to what you would have loved. I'm proud of what I do and it's still exciting to me. It's fun and interesting and there are not many careers where you can do everything from voice acting to graphics!"

Braben clearly remains positive about the gaming industry; peppering his discussion with Brit gaming icons, companies and games.

But it's clear that action needs to be taken soon to stop the decline and put Britain back on the top table of an industry that is growing faster than anything else in entertainment.

"We need people to step up," concludes Houlihan. "We need designers and developers and other visionaries to become rockstars again. Perhaps we do need a change in attitude so people are feted for that kind of thing."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.