reasons to CHOOSE The UK Games sector
1. The Large market opportunity
The UK is one of the largest games markets in the world, as defined by several measures.
The total UK market for games products grew 10 per cent to £5.7bn in 2018, with games software accounting for £4bn, according to figures published by Ukie. The Entertainment Retailers' Association estimates that the value of digital and physical video games sales was £3.86bn in 2018.
The wider games market also includes everything from sales of hardware and boxed games to games-related toys, events, merchandise, magazines and films in the wider culture (source: Ukie).
There are predictions for the UK's entertainment and media sector to grow by £8bn over the next four years to £76bn (source: Entertainment and Media Forecast, PwC), with games providing a strong growth element.
2. It is an attractive base for talent & investment
The UK is a hub for games talent, pioneering in fields such as alternative reality, artificial intelligence and mobile.
Overall, the UK has been ranked as the world's third best country for its ability to attract, retain, train and educate skilled workers, according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, published by INSEAD in 2017. Among the UK's creative screen-based industries, video games delivered the highest rate of labour productivity in 2016 at £83,800 a year.
UK higher education is also a strong supporter of the games industry. Sixty universities or colleges provided 215 undergraduate and 40 master video game courses throughout the UK in 2014 (source: Creative Skillset quoted by Ukie). Of these, 23 per cent were in London, 18 per cent in the West Midlands and 16 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber. The videogames course at Abertay University is ranked the best undergraduate videogames degree in Europe.
The computer games workforce is highly qualified, with 63 per cent having a degree compared to 57 per cent of the wider Creative Media workforce and 37 per cent of the wider UK economy in 2011 (source: Creative Skillset).
London is Europe’s number one tech hub for so-called 'unicorns' - fast-growing companies that are valued at $1bn or more - and attracted more foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other city in 2018 (source: GP Bullhound/London & Partners). It is also the top European destination for investment by US venture capitalists, drawing down $4.36bn in funds over five years, compared to $3.76bn for Berlin (source: London & Partners).
Ukie successfully campaigned for tax credits for games production, similar to those the UK offers in film and animation. The Video Games Tax Relief has been confirmed to last until 2023. Since the introduction of video games tax relief in 2014, HMRC estimates that £220m in claims has been paid, accounting for over £1bn of UK expenditure.
3. A reputation for Innovation and creativity
European games professionals rate the UK as the european market where the best games are currently made and where they still will be made in five years' time (source: GDC, 2016).
The UK is at the forefront of a number of global trends driving the digital games market, especially the spread of social, massive multiplayer online (MMO) and mobile games, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. The increased availability of super-fast broadband infrastructure, smartphones and other games devices is supporting this growth.
Within the more mainstream games segment, UK-produced titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Little Big Planet, Fable and Batman: Arkham have established a reputation for genre-defining originality (Source: Nesta report). The UK games sector has also developed technologies later adapted for training, visualisation and simulation.
4. AN International outlook
It is estimated that 95 per cent of all UK games businesses export and an average of 45 per cent of a UK games company's turnover derives from international sales (source: TIGA). The top three export markets for UK games companies are the USA, China and Japan, according to Nesta. Even small games companies have been introduced to new overseas markets via trade missions and industry conferences.
In the period 2015-2017, there was at least £1.75bn of inward investment in the UK games industry (source: Ukie). For example, in recent years Warner Bros. acquired Traveller's Tales, makers of titles such as LEGO Batman, LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Harry Potter. The UK hosts the European headquarters of overseas games companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Konami and Take-Two.
5. Workforce & infrastructure
The UK has the largest video games sector in Europe with a reputation for attracting and developing world-class talent. Overall in 2016, the UK games industry provided 47,620 FTE jobs and contributed £2.87bn in GVA to the UK economy. The UK games industry directly employs 20,430 FTEs in development, publishing and retail roles, which contribute £1.52bn in direct GVA to the economy (source: Ukie). It is estimated that a further 26,241 jobs are indirectly supported by games studios.
This workforce has the youngest profile in the creative industries, and earns above the creative industries average (source: Creative Skillset, May 2015). It also has the highest number of jobs in mobile gaming across the EU 28, with an estimated 5,000 roles in 2015 (source: Deloitte/ISFE report quoted in Ukie fact sheet). Games orgaisations can draw from the biggest population of professional tech developers in Europe - more than 300,000 compared to the 113,000 calculated for Paris (source: Slush).
According to a UK Parliamentary report from March 2017, superfast broadband of at least 24Mbps was available to 90 per cent of UK premises. Ofcom, the communications regulator, estimated that there were more than 6m superfast broadband connections in the UK as of August 2014, with an additional 6m subscriptions to 4G mobile services.
Games companies operating in the UK have access to sophisticated support services for games publishing, marketing, server capacity and IT infrastructure. Ukie provides business support services, such as drop-in clinics, across the games industry.
More statistics on the games industry available at http://ukie.org.uk/research.
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