According to the figures released by GamingScan, the United Kingdom is the world’s fifth-largest video game market as of 2018, not far behind Germany. Currently, China, the USA, and Japan are taking the lead respectively. It’s going to be a long haul for the UK to reach the top spot but considering that the gaming industry is the youngest sector in the country, it’s doing particularly well.
In the previous year, it was reported that the UK’s gaming industry is now worth at least £3.86bn. If you look at statistics closely, that’s pretty much half of the country’s entire entertainment market. Yes, it’s more than what the music and film segments make combined. Take note: the success of mobile gaming in the country is still not included here.
In retrospect, the industry is twice as lucrative as it was a decade ago, so you could now say that the country has really gone a long way.
This leads you to wonder: What makes it so successful?
Well, if you ask us, we’d like to believe it’s not just because the Brits have an obsession with video games; rather it’s because they’ve always been able to create games that have a global impact. Case in point: Tomb Raider (1996 – Present)
Outside gaming, say, in music and film, they’ve always been passionate about creating art and this is primarily what drives them to create top-notch games: they treat them the same way they treat other forms of art.
The Growing Market
Back in the late 70s all the way to the 90s, there were only a few people who were considered stalwarts in the game development field. Creators of games like Elite (1984), the Dizzy franchise (1987-1992), and WipeOut (1995) alongside many other titles, became the beacons of inspiration for developers who would go on to become moguls in the industry.
Fast forward to now, Red Dead Redemption 2 has sold more than a million copies in the UK alone in 2018. It made waves fast and it became the best-selling retail game in its opening week. Okay, the game was developed across the globe under the banner of American video game publisher Rockstar Games in 2018, but its lead studio was in Edinburgh. This only means that UK talents played a huge part in its success. And that’s just one of the many game companies who take in British geniuses for their content.
This isn’t to say that British-owned game companies pale in comparison to foreign companies when it comes to gaming. There are about 2,260 game businesses flourishing throughout the country. For instance, Sports Interactive, Rocksteady Studios Limited, and Playground Games are all major players in the market. They’re responsible for games like Football Manager, the Batman: Arkham series, Star Wars Battlefront II, and the Forza franchise.
If you’re an aspiring developer who wants to rise through the ranks in the gaming world, you could consider these local and international companies as great training grounds.
The Future of Gaming in the UK
Of course, despite the large appetite for gaming in the UK, the industry’s growth in the country was no way an easy feat. And over the years, we’ve learned that this isn’t just about creating new releases and promoting them around the world but also about preserving and protecting the industry itself. Meaning to say, the UK should not stop putting some of the money back into it and investing in its future.
One way to do this is by providing quality education to the next generation of brilliant developers and hone their skills. In 2014, we’ve seen primary schools in England add classes on computing, programming, and coding. It sounds outrageous for a student to learn these things at a tender age, but this will actually let them explore their creativity early on in this digital era.
The UK government’s unceasing support has also had a significant role in this, and we call on our leaders to create more programs like the Video Games Tax Relief. Under this scheme, British game companies can get a refund of up to 20% of production costs during development. Evidently, this has bolstered the domestic video game sector in the last couple of years. And we need more of these if we want startups to thrive in the market.
Even though it seems the industry’s success isn’t going to wane anytime soon, we still need to take action if we are gunning for the big leagues in the global arena.