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UK games industry received £7.7bn of investment in the last five years

The UK games industry benefitted from at least £7.7bn of investment between January 2017 and June 2022, according to new research from the industry trade body Ukie.

It analysed the 39 acquisitions, expansions and IPOs that publicly declared a monetary value, adjusted for inflation, in an effort to determine the scale of investment into the sector.

Of that £7.7bn reported, £6.87bn was the result of inward investment from non-UK companies based in 13 different countries acquiring UK studios – representing 89% of the value of all disclosed acquisitions made in the UK over the last five years.

Total publicly declared investment in the UK games industry, 2017-2022

*Data for 2022 recorded up to 30th June 2022. Source: Ukie Worldwide.
*Data for 2022 recorded up to 30th June 2022. Source: Ukie Worldwide.

The top three inward acquisitions accounted for 41% of investment into the UK games industry captured by the research over the period.

Additionally, eight of the 10 most valuable investments into the UK industry have occurred since December 2020 – with three of the most valuable deals occurring in that month alone.

IPOs accounted for 9% of investment into UK games businesses over the past half decade. This was driven by the value of three IPOs of UK businesses, with Team 17, Hiro Metaverse Acquisitions and Codemasters’ IPOs reaching a combined total value of £686m.

Finally, UK businesses spent £141m in the period acquiring games businesses in the UK itself – accounting for 2% of overall investment.

This figure, however, was exceeded by the amount UK games businesses spent expanding overseas with companies investing upwards of £180m to support their international expansions.

However, the overall total of investment into the UK games industry is likely to be higher than the total reported today. Overall, there were 87 acquisitions, expansions and IPOs across the time period analysing – meaning that the value of 48 deals were not available for the research.

Source: Ukie Worldwide
Source: Ukie Worldwide

The research has been produced to celebrate the launch of Ukie Worldwide, a new international trade campaign that seeks to celebrate UK games businesses through trade missions, content and events designed to showcase the breadth of great UK based talent up and down the country.

The includes Ukie’s trade mission to gamescom 2022, supported by the Department for International Trade, which will see 75 UK games businesses seeking to generate millions of pounds of business wins for their companies and the wider economy.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said:

“This research shows that the UK sits at the heart of the global games industry, driving investment and creating high value jobs in towns, cities and regions across the UK.

We’re proud of our heritage  in video games in the UK, but we also want to showcase the emerging talent and companies who are innovating across platforms.

It is important to recognise and to maintain our global position as a country full of expertise and to acknowledge how impressive the industry’s growth and success has been over the last few years.

With new political leadership soon to take the reins, we want to ensure our success continues to be celebrated and supported.”

Julie Parmenter, Chief Finance Officer of nDreams said:

“The $35 million investment into nDreams from The Aonic Group has been truly transformative for us.  With the growth of the VR market, the investment has provided us with the rocket fuel to support our expansion plans, powering development and publishing of even more ambitious VR games. 

More importantly it has given us a strategic partner for the future.  Throughout our fundraise, the key aim was to find a partner that would be a perfect cultural fit to nDreams and one that really believes in your team and vision.  We are delighted to have found the perfect partner in Aonic."

Discover more about the Ukie Worldwide campaign at www.ukie.org.uk/worldwide.