The UK video games sector - a blueprint for growth

Ukie Blueprint for growth

The UK games sector is a highly dynamic, global success story. A new report commissioned by Ukie, The UK Video Games Sector:  a blueprint for growth, tracks the rise of the UK games industry since the 1980s. It demonstrates the fast-evolving business models and the innovation used in by games businesses that have helped the UK become one of the most successful games exporters in the world.

The report also identifies a number challenges faced by the UK games industry, as well as its potential to spill over and transfer knowledge, skills and innovation to other creative digital sectors.  It sets out a series of recommendations that will collectively lead to the UK games sector contributing another £1bn annually to the British economy. 

Games create jobs: The games industry supports 35,000 jobs across 12 clusters across the UK 
Games are key exports: 68% of Ukie members generated over 60% of their annual turnover from sales outside the UK
Games appeal widely: 21m play games in the UK, half of them are women and 27% of them are over 44 
Games are big sellers:
The UK is the 6th largest global consumer market worth £3.9bn in UK consumer spend alone
Games can heal: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are used successfully in healthcare to treat and train  
Games make you smart:
Playing games give you skills - problem solving, dexterity, systems thinking, team work. Games are used to train surgeons and fighter pilots 
Games are homegrown: The biggest global hits are UK-made: Grand Theft Auto, Lego, Batman, Little Big Planet, Monument Valley, Farm Hero Saga and more 
Games blend art with science:
Making games is a unique fusion of art, design, programming, audio, writing, data science

Total UK games companies

However, the games industry is still young and needs nurturing. If it is to continue to punch above its weight, creating more jobs and more economic returns, we need action.

This report makes five recommendations to government:

  1. UK and EU funding to fully and equitably recognise the contribution of games, ensuring effective support alongside other creative industries
  2. Support regional growth, FDI and exports across the UK
  3. Grow, attract and retain the best talent
  4. Create the best tax environment and digital marketplace to do business worldwide
  5. Promote games-as-culture and celebrate cutting-edge UK innovation

These interventions will create more economic returns and a more resilient foundation that will nourish start-ups so that they can flourish and – most significantly – will enrich our everyday cultural life, inspire new ways of understanding the world around us, or simply provide hours of entertainment.

With their unique fusion of arts, creativity, passion, technology and fresh thinking, we believe games – making them, publishing them, playing them, servicing them, producing and reflecting culture through them – are the blueprint for the sort of creative, innovative economy our future and present citizens deserve.

The press release for the report can be read here