reasons to CHOOSE The UK Games sector
1. The Large market opportunity
The UK games market is large and growing. Games trade body Ukie reported that the value of the UK consumer games market reached a record £4.33bn in 2016, up +1.2 per cent from 2015 figures.
The results included an +11.1 per cent increase in digital console and PC games sales and a +16.9 per cent rise in UK mobile games revenue to £995m. According to Newzoo, the industry consultancy, there are 36.4m game players in the UK, 61 per cent of whom spend money with an average annual spend of $160 per player.
2. It is an attractive base for talent & investment
The UK was the top European destination for tech investment in 2016, attracting more than £6.7bn of investment, according to London & Partners. Between Q1 in 2011 and Q3 in 2016, the UK gaming sector saw 44 capital investments (source: Slush, Nov 2016).
Ukie, the association for the interactive entertainment industry, successfully campaigned for tax credits for games production, similar to those the UK offers in film and animation. The Video Games Tax Relief has been confirmed to last until 2023.The BFI analysed investments made under these tax relief rules and estimated that total development spend in the sector in 2016 was £1.25 billion, of which £389.9 million accessed the Government's tax relief. Inward investment has accounted for around 27 per cent of total spending on video games supported development since the tax relief was first introduced in 2014.
The UK is a hub for games talent. The UK has been ranked as the world's third best country for its ability to attract, retain, train and educate skilled workers, according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, published by INSEAD in 2017. London is seen as the leading European capital for virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence (source: Slush). British universities also offered an estimated 215 undergraduate and 40 masters video games courses in 2014, according to Ukie.
Below, watch Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, talk about the importance of the UK's games sector and investing in the next generation of UK games developers.
3. A reputation for Innovation and creativity
European games professionals rate the UK as the european market where the best games are currently made and where they still will be made in five years' time (source: GDC, 2016).
The UK is at the forefront of a number of global trends driving the digital games market, especially the spread of social, massive multiplayer online (MMO) and mobile games, virtual reality and augmented reality. The increased availability of super-fast broadband infrastructure, tablets and smartphones is supporting this growth.
Within the more mainstream games segment, UK-produced titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Little Big Planet, Fable and Batman: Arkham have established a reputation for genre-defining originality (Source: Nextgen, Nesta report). The UK games sector has also developed technologies later adapted for other uses in areas such as training, visualisation and simulation.
4. AN International outlook
It is estimated that 95 per cent of all UK games businesses export and an average of 45 per cent of a UK games company's turnover derives from international sales (source TIGA). The top three export markets for UK games companies are the USA, China and Japan, according to Nesta. Even small games companies have been introduced to new overseas markets via trade missions and industry conferences.
The UK draws investment from foreign-owned games companies. For example, Warner Bros. acquired Traveller's Tales, makers of titles such as LEGO Batman, LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Harry Potter. The UK hosts the European headquarters of overseas games companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Konami and Take-Two.
5. Workforce & infrastructure
The UK has an estimated games industry workforce of 10,300. This workforce has the youngest profile in the creative industries, and earns above the creative industries average (source: Creative Skillset, May 2015). Games orgaisations can draw from the biggest population of professional tech developers in Europe - more than 300,000 compared to the 113,000 calculated for Paris (source: Slush).
According to a UK Parliamentary report from March 2017, superfast broadband of at least 24Mbps was available to 90 per cent of UK premises. Ofcom, the communications regulator, estimated that there were more than 6m superfast broadband connections in the UK as of August 2014, with an additional 6m subscriptions to 4G mobile services.
Games companies operating in the UK have access to sophisticated support services for games publishing, marketing, server capacity and IT infrastructure. Ukie provides business support services, such as drop-in clinics, across the games industry.
More statistics on the games industry available at http://ukie.org.uk/research.
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