The UK games industry has become a huge part of the UK economy, contributing £1.5 billion every year. It is growing by seven per cent a year and it is projected that it will be worth £5.2 billion by 2021. Half of the UK population plays games and the UK is also producing some exceptional titles – it is a really exciting industry to watch. What is behind all of this success in the UK games industry?
The chances for smaller UK game developers have been improved by funding opportunities. Creative England is a non-profit funded by both the EU and some industry bodies that is dedicated to providing funding for small creative businesses. This has been a great help for some smaller developers to get their projects off the ground. In Wales, the Welsh government offers the Digital Innovation fund for Welsh game developers which is helping them hire more staff and buy better equipment.
An area of the UK gaming sector that has seen a big increase in popularity is online gambling. UK gamblers are flocking to online casinos to play classic games like poker, roulette and blackjack in a variety of different settings with special bonuses being provided by some of the companies. Gamblers are enjoying the convenience of playing online casino games rather than having to go to an actual casino. Playing poker on Stakers is a great way of winning some money while enjoying the excitement of the game.
The UK is doing exceptionally well at finding and retaining digital talent. It is the third most successful country in the world at attracting, training and retaining talent in the digital industry, with London, Birmingham and Cardiff all being magnets for gifted individuals. This talent is leading to highly effective collaborations and incredible projects. UK universities are beginning to run high-quality game design courses tutored by industry professionals which is leading to lots of home-grown talent becoming available in the UK.
Incredible and varied titles
Of course, while the UK is buying loads of games, it is also producing lots, as well. There are several UK-based studios creating playing experiences that are fun and immersive. Codemasters, based in Leamington Spa and Birmingham, has been producing games since 1986 and recently it brought out DiRT 4 and F1 2018. Media Molecule, based in Guildford, is famous for the LittleBigPlanet series and upcoming game Dreams is already generating hype. Ninja Theory is a developer that formed in the early 2000s in Cambridge and is famous for Heavenly Sword, DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Those developers, among several others, are employing great staff while creating new games that the UK can be proud of.
The future looks bright for the UK games industry, with several companies surveyed saying that they are performing well and will be looking to expand their staff numbers in the coming months and years. Gaming in the UK and the rest of the world is now mainstream, and the size and growth of this industry reflect this new status quo.