Everything you need to know about the £4.3 bn UK gaming industry

Between 2011 and 2013, there has been a 22 per cent rise in the number of UK-based gaming companies, and it has been found that 95 per cent of all gaming companies are either small or micro businesses. Here's more.

Over the years, the UK gaming industry has become a success story, with consumer spend on games valued at £4.33 billion in 2016 – an increase of 1.2 per cent from 2015. Between 2011 and 2013, there has been a 22 per cent rise in the number of UK-based gaming companies, and it has been found that 95 per cent of all gaming companies are either small or micro businesses. Currently, the UK hosts the sixth largest domestic games market worldwide, after China, USA, Japan, South Korea and Germany.

With the rise of mobile gaming and technological advancements resulting in new gadgets and consoles being released at accelerated rates; smaller developers can showcase their talents more easily. This is a promising statistic as talented young individuals continue to emerge from university and creative persons can flourish in a more inventive and artistic business culture. Graphic designers, illustrators, game developers, etc. are in high-demand as the gaming, TV, film and technology industries need ideas and creative input to further their company’s progressions.

There seems to be little evidence suggesting the slowing down of technology, and as a society, we find ourselves reliant on smartphones, apps and the internet. If we commute via trains or buses, many will be playing on the latest, most highly-rated game to pass the time, using the internet to keep us occupied with online shopping, uploading status updates to social media, talking to friends over messaging apps or gambling. Coinciding with the success of the gaming industry, the gambling industry is similar. With the rise of technology, gambling has grown in popularity, with betting sites developing apps which allow bets and bonus codes to be placed and redeemed easily (such casino bonus code can be found here). Therefore, as we demand improvements, developers make sure to deliver in these highly competitive industries.

In early 2017, many UK gaming firms were set to expand their workforce which indicated the continuing growth of the industry. It seems that the spread of mobiles, tablet devices, a growing console generation and the introduction of virtual reality is prompting investment. However, after an initial government funding of £4 million, gaming companies are crying a shortage of further funding. Additionally, the UK vote to leave the EU has also created a speculation that Brexit could cause issues in the games industry.

Following the results of the EU Referendum, two-fifths of UK-based games companies have stated that they are considering relocating from Britain. This is because the industry is worried about a loss of international talent as Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment) found 57 per cent of UK games firms employ workers from the EU. However, a new apprenticeship programme has come into effect. The Apprenticeship Levy is a new regime where employers who exceed £3 million on their payroll will have to pay additional tax. However, companies can then access the money they pay as levy which allows them to take on apprentices.

The gaming industry has surely changed over the years – and for the better. Technology and a rise in console and game sales massively contribute to the UKs economy, and therefore, should be continued to be invested in. However, there is an air of uncertainty. SMEs continue to worry about their overseas employees, and how Brexit may hinder international creative inputs; putting strain onto a flourishing industry.

However, crowdfunding, investment schemes and government funding could help keep UK game firms afloat. There are many finance schemes SMEs could incorporate into their finances and business plans.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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