XR Games

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Hi, my name is Bobby Thandi I'm the founder and CEO of XR Games So what's the story behind you and XR Games?

XR Games is a game development studio focusing specifically on virtual reality games.
We work with Hollywood movie studios and triple-A game studios.
Our headquarters is here in Leeds, and we also have a studio presence in Christchurch, New Zealand as well.
Barclays has helped XR Games grow our business through various different means So for example, when the Barclays games and creative team attend games industry events they will help by networking and introductions.
So that's introductions to potential business partners, potential clients, potential investors, and this helps elevate XR Games to the next level.
Why do you bank with Barclays?
There’s various reasons for banking with Barclays.
So for example, it feels like I'm speaking to a fellow peer They’ll dress like us, talk like us, act like us Attend the same games industry events as well which is fantastic with XR Games being a fast growing start-up Our demands are numerous and varied so when I have a question for the Barclays team they’re there with a fast response making the relevant introductions and that’s invaluable as the business grows Further to that, everyone's suffering from the cost of living increase and Barclays have been great to help provide a financial advisor to help support our staff.
So looking around your amazing offices How do you reflect on your achievements?
We have the numerous awards that we've won scattered throughout the studio and it's great to see those awards.
it’s a great sign of validation of our achievements over the six years we've been going.
Further to that, we've now grown the studio to 110 people and it's mindblowing to think that we're supporting 110 households, which is obviously positively impacting the economy as well.
How was Barclays supported you with funding opportunities?
Barclays has a vast network and through that vast network, they've been able to make fantastic introductions to potential investors.
And through those connections, I've been able to raise significant investment funding.
What advice would you share with other businesses at this stage of their journey?
When you're an entrepreneur and running a business, there are intense highs and lows in running the business.
And when you do have a small win, it's very important to celebrate those wins because the journey just goes by in the blink of an eye.


Bobby Thandi is the founder and CEO of XR Games, an award-winning virtual reality games studio. Bobby started XR Games in 2017, with four other people. Now, just seven years later, his staff numbers are 110. Based in Leeds, they create VR games for Hollywood studios and publishers such as Meta, PlayStation and Microsoft. Bobby talked to the Barclays specialist Games and Creative team about five things that helped him go from start-up to scale-up.

1. Know your customer

Although I was coding games from a young age, I also had a weekend job on a market stall. Meaning I had an idea about how to sell things while I was still in my teens. And after uni, I worked for a market research firm, in their data unit. This helped me understand what made customers tick. So having ideas and the ability to bring them to life are important, but it really helps to know you’re making something people want to buy.

2. Partner with people who get you

Our previous bank didn’t really see us for the kind of business we are. But when the Barclays specialist Games and Creative team turned up, it was a breath of fresh air. They didn't dress in suits, they dressed like us. They spoke like us. They were at the networking events I was going to. I could talk about anything with them – especially our industry, which they seemed to know inside out.

3. Play well together

When I was younger my favourite games were the co-operative games, where you’re playing with each other. It’s why I went into VR gaming, because there’s a big element of co-operative play there too. Taking this approach to business – trying to find the best outcome for both parties – that’s how you develop long, multi-year relationships.

4. Hire right first time

At the start of XR Games, I was involved in the hiring of every new employee. But as we got bigger, this became more difficult. In 2022 we grew from 40 staff in January to 100 by the year’s end. And because I felt I couldn’t interview everyone, we took on a handful of people who weren’t really right for us. I suppose it’s one of the growing pains of a new business. Now I make sure I’m involved in every key hire.

5. Get out there

A lot of game development is obviously done in front of a screen, but if you want the business to grow you’ve got to get up from the desk and meet people. I’d go to these networking events, and Barclays were great with that. They seemed to know exactly the right people I should be talking to. At one event I was put in touch with someone who’d founded a games company a few years before me – he’s now become a valuable mentor.

“When the Barclays games team turned up, it was a breath of fresh air. They didn't dress in suits, they dressed like us. They spoke like us”

The UK gaming industry is highly competitive.

But Barclays' specialist team, and their knowledge of the sector, is a huge boost.

And being invited to their networking events helped us attract talent to grow to a whole new level.

With Barclays' support, the future looks exciting.

Grow your business.

Bank on Barclays.