Rockstar makes a grand return to profit

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Video games developer Rockstar Leeds returned to profit last year but posted a slight decline in turnover.

The firm, which is part of US-based Rockstar Games, posted a pre-tax profit of £242,864 compared to a loss of £187,403 in the year ended March 31, 2013.

Turnover dipped to £3.8m from £4m the previous year.

It is understood that Rockstar Leeds, which employs around 80 staff, developed some of the hand-held device formats for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the fifth instalment of the popular action-adventure series which was released last year.

Grand Theft Auto V was all over the news last September after it made $1bn in its first three days of sales.

Rockstar Leeds filed its latest accounts at Companies House as the game became available on Android and Amazon Kindle devices.

The game enables players to roam around the state of San Andreas and its three major cities – Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in New York, Rockstar Games creates and publishes some of the world’s best-selling video game franchises, including Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire, the Max Payne series, Bully and the Midnight Club street racing games.

Its development team consists of studios in Leeds, Edinburgh, London, New England, San Diego and Toronto.

Rockstar Leeds was founded as Mobius Entertainment in 1997 by Gordon Hall, Jason McGann, Dave Box, Ian Bowden and Justin Johnson.

In April 2004, it was acquired by Rockstar Games and renamed Rockstar Leeds.

The studio has primarily published handheld games for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, as well as developing Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition and the Grand Theft Auto Stories games for the PlayStation Portable.

It was once located in a converted 18th-century church in the Pudsey area of Leeds but the studio relocated to the City West office park after the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories in 2005.

The UK games industry is worth more than £2.8bn, excluding digital sales, with around 10 per cent of its games development talent based in Yorkshire.

There are around 28 games companies in the region, employing more than 500 people.

The industry is supported by Game Republic, which was established in 2003 by Yorkshire games companies, along with national games industry organisation TIGA, to encourage business and inward investment in the region.

In 2007, the network was incorporated into Screen Yorkshire in order to access the regional screen agency’s business development and production funds.

It was forced to become an independent organisation in 2011 following Government spending cuts.