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‘Spillover’ technology from video games worth £1.3 billion in 2021

A new report from FTI Consulting and Ukie (UK Association for Interactive Entertainment) today is the first ever to put numerical value on the use and economic contribution of video game technology in sectors outside the games industry, itself worth £6 billion in GVA.

The report defined ‘spillover’ technology as instances where otherwise unrelated sectors have adopted and applied innovations from game developers to enhance their products and improve their business operations.

Highlights include nearly 10,000 jobs supported, 760 million GBP in Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”), and 380 million GBP in labour income – activity which constitutes 250 million GBP in government revenues. The overall output of just this spillover technology was 1.3 billion, which is roughly equivalent to the UK timber and forestry industry, the aluminium production industry or the cycling industry.

Sectors that saw the highest spillover from game technology in the UK included Information Technology, Energy Extraction and Business Services. However other sectors such as Healthcare, Television and Film saw a notable if small impact, with video game technology providing many ground-breaking technological innovations to these industries.

The healthcare sector widely utilises game engines as a means of advancing patient care. In fact, the healthcare sector is among the top three industries expected to lead VR adoption through 2025. Medical professionals and surgeons can use game engine-enabled products such as Precision OS to learn and practice on realistic VR simulations, making virtual surgery training more life-like by providing real-time sensory feedback.

Films and shows such as The Batman, BBC’s Match of the Day and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, all made in the UK, are increasingly leveraging innovative visual effects (VFX) capabilities such as virtual production, driven by game engine technology.

Studios like Pinewood in Slough are able to build dynamic, photo-real digital landscapes on LED stages to set a scene in any location, allowing creatives to make tweaks in real time on set and helping actors adapt to their characters’ on-screen lives. Virtual production also reduces the need for on-location shooting, increasing filming possibilities whilst reducing costs of travel, insurance, permits and housing or full set construction.

Meanwhile the automotive sector has demonstrated a growing interest in game engine technology, particularly as vehicles start to rely more heavily on software and technology. The visualisation capabilities offered by commercial game engines such as Unreal and Unity make these products compelling solutions for automotive applications, such as expanding simulation and testing capabilities.

Read the full report here.

Dan Wood, Co-CEO of Ukie said:

“These report findings demonstrate the part video game technology has played in many ground-breaking technological innovations outside of the games sector. From increasing innovation, improving product designs, to enhancing consumers’ experiences, video games technology is driving technological development across different sectors. This report provides the strongest evidence yet, that the video games industry is a driver of significant value across the UK economy.”

Minister of State Sir John Whittingdale MP said:

“From cutting edge visual effects in films to transforming training for doctors, the influence and impact of gaming technology extends right across the economy.

"We're backing rising star developers through the UK Games Fund and supporting games businesses with generous tax reliefs to maximise the potential of our thriving creative industries, so that innovative technology continues to benefit our economy and society."