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UK Games Map - Number of games businesses in UK has grown by almost a third since September 2016

Relaunched and refreshed map shows enormous growth in national industry, companies encouraged to contribute additional data to map

The number of games businesses active in the UK has reached a record high, according to new figures released today in time for the re-launch of the UK Games Map.

The map is an interactive tool that shows the locations of games companies, games service providers and academic institutions providing games related courses in the UK. It was first launched in 2016 with the support of Nesta.

It has been used by global businesses looking to set up in and invest the UK, by students looking for work opportunities close to where they live, and it has proven to be a useful tool in telling the sector’s story to policy makers who can see how many games businesses are represented in their constituency.

The new map provides a visually fresh and consistently up to date view on the £5.26bn sector for industry professionals, investors, policy makers, press and students.

Games businesses levelling up the country

The new map shows that the games industry continues to be a leading sector in terms of Levelling Up and economic impact across the UK, delivering highly skilled, high value jobs.

According to the new data:

  •  There are 2,555 active games companies, games service providers and games-related academic institutions listed in the UK, an increase of over 31% since 2016.
  • Of the 2,555 games businesses based in the UK, 2,202 are games companies, 213 are service companies and 140 are academic institutions that offer games related courses and training.
  • Looking at games companies across the nations of the UK, the vast majority are based in England. 2001 are based there in comparison to 108 in Scotland, 59 in Wales and 38 in Northern Ireland.
  • Although London is home to the most games businesses across the nations of the UK, with a total of 713 companies, sizeable games city clusters include Manchester (75), Brighton (72), Guildford (71), Slough (63), Cambridge (45), Bristol (42), Sheffield (38), Leamington Spa (36), Edinburgh (30), Nottingham and Leeds (26 each).
  • Particularly sizeable regions, meanwhile, include Yorkshire and the Humber with 128 games businesses, West Midlands with 125 and East Midlands with 104.
  • The four parliamentary constituencies hosting the most games businesses are all based in London (Cities of London and Westminster, Holborn and St Pancras, Islington South and Finsbury, and Hackney South and Shoreditch, with the remaining top ten all based outside the capital (Brighton Pavilion, Guildford, Warwick and Leamington, Liverpool Riverside, Bristol West, and Dundee West).

The new UK Games Map speaks directly to the publicly available Companies House database, ensuring that closed businesses are no longer displayed, and company locations are current. New organisations were identified first by their standard industrial classification (SIC) code, which gave a list of over 15,000 companies. A machine learning approach was then used to identify the genuine games companies within this list, resulting in the database the map uses today.

New tools and features have also been added to the map to help people explore the data set effectively, including new easy to use data visualisation tools such as heatmap and choropleth views, additional map boundary areas (such as local enterprise partnerships) and a list view to help analyse and export data.

Users of the map can support and contribute to its accuracy it in several ways. These include creating an account to suggest edits and claiming an organisation’s record to edit it directly (after a verification process). Instructions on how to do this are here: www.ukie.org.uk/uk-games-map

This updated version of the map was developed with research agency The Nursery and software developer Kieran Darcy, and supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding, whilst the academic data was provided by Discover Uni, an important new partner in the project.

The map’s integration with Discover Uni’s data allows users to easily access relevant information about the academic institutions offering games courses across the country including student feedback; the Games Map updates itself alongside Discover Uni’s own database. The map can display the range and quality of courses on offer in each institution, providing useful information to students, parents, careers advisors and teachers seeking advice about the sector.

“The UK Games Map once again shows that the video games industry is a truly national success story and an engine of growth,” said Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie. “It shows that the industry’s contribution to the economy benefits communities across the country and underlines why the sector is a leading success story on a global stage. We now encourage games businesses to claim their company record or create their own if it isn’t on the map, to help us tell that story.”

Harriet Finney, BFI Deputy CEO/Executive Director of Corporate & Industry Affairs said, “The UK’s video games sector has grown at a phenomenal rate in recent years, creating opportunities for investment and contributing to the sector’s creative and economic global success.   Supporting the UK Games Map has been helpful to the BFI and industry partners in providing evidence and undertaking policy work to benefit the sector but crucially it is there for businesses to use for their development and for individuals seeking pathways to jobs.”

Discover Uni is managed by the Office for Students (OfS). Conor Ryan, director of external relations at the OfS, said “Ukie’s relaunched Games Map underscores the strength and size of the UK games industry. Discover Uni provides independent information on higher education courses linked to the games industry. Our partnership with Ukie will help students make the best decision for them as they embark on their studies and career in the industry.”

You can access the UK Games Map at www.gamesmap.uk.