At present, the UK is the fifth-largest video game market in the world, with its gaming industry valued at £3.86 bn. From online casino to gaming, over the years, the UK’s gaming industry has grown exponentially and is now in par with China, Japan, and the US, which are the international powerhouses of the gaming industry.
In this article, let’s understand how the gaming industry flourished in the UK and attracted innumerable foreign investors in the past five years.
A glance at the UK’s gaming industry and its record-breaking revenue growth
While the UK economy has been fairly robust historically and has attracted numerous immigrants from across the world, the tremendous growth of the country’s gaming industry has contributed greatly in maintaining the growth momentum in recent times. The gaming industry is the first choice for immigrant and domestic job seekers in the UK.
Following are some of the stats that shows the country’s evolution in the gaming industry:
- In 2015, the UK Government identified the potential and opportunities in the interactive gaming industry market and rolled out favourable policies for companies to grow and thrive in the industry. The Government provided nearly $5.2 million to support emerging domestic gaming companies that lacked capital and infrastructure.
- In 2016, the UK gaming industry contributed $3.9 bn to the UK economy. In fact, the country witnessed a constant and significant growth in almost every sector of the gaming industry over the years, so much so that in 2018, games outsold music and video collectively and accounted for 51.3% of the UK entertainment market, which is more than half of the entire market.
- There are nearly 2280 game companies in the UK and 75% of the companies’ revenue generate from international sales. The UK gaming industry employs nearly 47000 professionals (Smallworldfs). By employing a highly skilled workforce with technical and creative expertise the companies were able to contribute around $3.5 bn to the Government, in revenue.
Factors that made the UK much more than a bit-part player in the gaming world
Following are the factor that contributed to the tremendous growth of the UK’s gaming industry:
- The UK alone has nearly 32 billion video game players, making it a ready domestic market for gaming companies. The Government also crafted favourable tax regulations to companies that are willing to explore and expand their footprint in the UK gaming market.
- Online casino games played a major role in enabling the UK gaming industry to stand against its established international counterparts. The freedom and the clear set of guidelines provided by the UK legislation was a great support to the operators and developers to innovate and thrive in the gaming space.
- Leading-edge gaming skills and technologies form the heart of the UK game industry. Nearly 86% of the UK game workers hold at least one degree.
- Technology advancements like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have helped the UK in combining live and digital elements and provide a whole new virtual gaming environment for players. The episodic adventure game series – ‘The Walking Dead’ is a perfect example of this.
The positive impact of the COVID-19 on the UK gaming industry
Despite the unprecedented global uncertainty COVID-19 that has set in motion an economic tailspin, the UK gaming industry continues to bloom. Nationwide lockdowns and self-isolation protocols imposed to contain the spread of the deadly contagion made millions of people to turn to the gaming world to escape the onslaught of the crisis.
The following estimate from Statista clearly shows the positive impact of COVID-19 on the UK gaming industry
Also, the video game market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% and reach £5.4 bn by 2023.”
Additionally, the eagerness of the locked-down gamers to socialize in a virtual world led to the sales of nearly 1M boxed games in the UK during lockdowns (WeareSocial). As reported by Nielsen, an American information, data, and measurement firm, the UK witnessed an upsurge by 29% in video game usage during peak hours.
To put it precisely, the UK’s gaming industry is flourishing. Also, it has turned into a gaming giant as powerful and competent as its international counterparts. Even more so, many companies are now following the footsteps of the UK to become a hotbed of innovation and creativity in the gaming world.