Presented by The U.K. Department for International Trade
You can’t talk about the Game Developers Conference (GDC) without discussing one of the most flourishing game developing ecosystems in the world: the United Kingdom. The U.K. is an internationally renowned start-up scene for innovative games and entrepreneurial developers of every stripe, from coders to designers to producers and developers – the kinds of artists who fundamentally shape the course of the industry now and into the future.
To meet with UK gaming companies at GDC, make sure to stop by booth S649, or visit events.great.gov.uk/gdc.
Check out some of the impressive stats that show the U.K. game industry is one of the most cutting-edge and fastest-growing in the world.
$5.05 billion: Sales generated by the U.K. game industry
The U.K. game industry contributed $3.9 billion in GVA to the U.K. economy in 2016. In 2018, games accounted for more than half of the entire U.K. entertainment market, 51.3 percent, outselling music and video combined, for the first time.
Almost every sector of the U.K. game industry market is growing. According to TIGA analysis, the U.K. video game sector is the largest in Europe, contributing more than $1.96 billion towards British GDP in 2017.
2,280: The number of game companies in the U.K.
The game scene is wide-ranging in the U.K., encompassing everything from new micro-studios developing games for the burgeoning mobile market to internationally respected independent studios to large U.K. and international publishers, all employing a highly skilled workforce with leading technical and creative expertise.
- Some of the biggest names in gaming are from U.K. developers, including LittleBigPlanet, the Batman: Arkham series, smash mobile hit Monument Valley, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Farm Heroes Saga, and Grand Theft Auto. GTA V, from Rockstar Games, is the fastest-selling entertainment product of all time, grossing $1 billion worldwide in just three days. In Mach 2018, the game returned to the top of the U.K. chart, four and a half years after it launched
- Green Man Gaming brings games to consumers in 195 countries, offering an ecommerce store and community platform. GMG just announced a partnership with award-winning studio Stainless Games to bring a new IP to PC in 2019.
- The U.K. boasts a wide variety of game tech companies, such as Improbable, which offers massive-scale spatial simulation technology that enables developers to create richer, more immersive and persistent virtual worlds. Improbable has just announced that it will begin developing its own multiplayer games, along with the establishment of new game development studios in Edmonton, Canada, and London. Ex-Bioware Veteran Aaryn Flynn will head their new Gaming Studio in Edmonton and John Wasilczyk is heading up the London studio.
- Ultrahaptics creates tactile sensations in mid-air, no controllers or wearables needed. The company’s patented “virtual touch” technology, which uses ultrasound to project shapes and textures directly onto users’ hands, has earned several commendations including being named a CES 2019 Innovation Honoree.
- Third Kind Games, established in 2016 by former management and senior developers at Activision, are the lead development team on Blankos Block Party, the blockchain powered Party MMO from Mythical Games. They recently announced expansion plans in the UK.
75%: The revenue U.K. games companies generate from international sales
The U.K. is an ideal place to develop new games. Large international companies like Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Konami and Take-Two, have opened offices in the U.K., and companies like Warner Bros, EA, and Ubisoft have invested in development studios and publishing networks in the U.K.
86%: The percentage of U.K. game workers who have at least one degree
A strong and deep workforce with leading-edge skills in games and immersive technologies sits at the heart of the U.K. game industry. The industry actively nurtures innovative new talent in multiple ways:
- NextGen Skills Academy targets the next generation of game designers through initiatives such as new entry-level qualifications and apprenticeships.
- Creative Skillset offers up-to-date and relevant game sector training and education.
- TIGA Accreditation ensures U.K. universities produce graduates with relevant skills.
- The Creative Careers Programme, launched this year with $18.3 million of industry and government support, aims to raise awareness of the range of employment opportunities in the creative industries,.
212: The number of productions that benefited from the UK video games tax relief, with a combined budget of over $360 million
Foreign-owned game development companies with a presence in the U.K. can apply for tax relief, and these corporate tax credits have attracted significant international investments.
The U.K. Games Fund has helped small game companies with early stage finance issues, boosted IP creation and nurtured talent since 2015 with $5.2 million of government support. Last year an additional $2.22 million funding was announced to expand the program and enable it to run until 2020.
40%: The percentage of U.K. game developers with a budget dedicated to R&D
Innovation is a priority for U.K. business and industry and the key to a #GREATfuture. The U.K. games development sector is innovation driven, spending an average 20 percent of turnover on R&D. Government-supported R&D projects include a new multi-million-dollar Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise (InGAME) R&D center in Dundee, that fosters product, service and experience innovation across the games industry.
To learn more about the strength of the indigenous U.K. gaming industry and the benefits to U.S. companies investing in the U.K., talk to us at GDC 2019, booth S649, visit events.great.gov.uk/gdc, or contact Cindy Fabian at the U.K.’s Department for International Trade (DIT) (firstname.lastname@example.org), who can connect you with a U.K. Gaming Ambassador.
The U.K.’s Department for International Trade (DIT) helps businesses export, drives inward and outward investment, negotiates market access and trade deals, and champions free trade. There is a DIT team in San Francisco dedicated to supporting the creative & media industries including games.
UKIE: U.K. Interactive Entertainment is a non-profit trade association for the video game industry in the U.K.
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