The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released new figures showing that the creative industries, including the games sector, are now worth £91.8bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy.
This represents a growth of 7.6% between 2015 and 2016, more than double the rate of the wider economy in the same period (3.5%). The creative industries are also by far the fastest growing DCMS sector over the period 2010-2016, increasing by 44.8% overall, with every year from 2012 representing a greater increase that the previous one.
The digital sector, which also includes games in its measurement, is the largest sector overall at £116bn in GVA, growing 5.8% since 2015 and 23.3% since 2010.
In the official statistics, the computer games sub-sector itself contributed £358m of GVA in 2016, increasing 10.4% since 2015, outpacing the growth of the broader creative industries.
While this increase positively reflects a UK games industry we know to be vibrant and expanding, the official overall GVA estimates remain much lower than those from other sources, such as Ukie’s 2015 'Blueprint for Growth Report', which estimates the GVA of the industry at £935 million in 2014, as opposed to £394m in the official statistics for the same year.
As in previous years, these difficulties in measurement stem from the way the current official Standard Industrial Classification system is put together (see SIC explainer here). As of November 2017, the UK Games Map shows there are 2,185 games businesses operating in the UK, 50% of which do not use one of the two SIC codes that government uses to estimate the size of the games industry – meaning that 50% of those businesses are not counted as games businesses in the official Government statistics.
Also, as DCMS state in their methodology for games industry measurements, their games industry figures “are based on a small sample size and are therefore subject to volatility, and should be treated with caution”. This problem also reflected in the crafts industry figures, which are measured in a similar way. More detail on the official methodology can be found here.
The UK is home to a world-class games industry, strengthened by supportive initiatives like the Video Game Tax Relief, which paid out £73m to UK businesses in 2016/17. Ukie will continue to work with DCMS, the Office for National Statistics and other Government departments to improve the accuracy of the official estimates to properly reflect this success and communicate it to the world.