It’s common knowledge now that the video games industry is one of the biggest on the planet, but how much does it bring in to the UK’s economy? The answer: a lot, and it’s growing annually.
Figures released by Ukie, the UK’s gaming trade body, and gaming trade publication MCV show that as of 2015, the British games market is now worth a colossal £4.193bn. That represents a rise of £210m on 2014, or a five percent increase year-on-year.
Breaking the total down into smaller observable components of the sector, the biggest gains were seen in digital sales on console and PC, and mobile gaming. The former swelled from £1.082bn in 2014 to £1.224bn in 2015, while the latter saw the overall largest improvement, leaping from a valuation of £548m to £664m. Dedicated PC hardware wasn’t accounted for in 2014, but the latest figures value the area at £138m, showing a potential growth market for PC gamers. There’s also growing demand for peripherals and accessories, a sector which shot up from £289m to £360m.
Only a few areas showed declines, and of those only one with a significant fall. Console hardware fell from £915m to £689m, though this could be accounted for by the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both being well established now, and the Wii U barely moving as Nintendo fans await the mysterious NX console. As new hardware hits the market, and “must have” cames continue to emerge, this particular pendulum could swing back. Other drops were seen in gaming related toys (£69m down to £62m), books and magazines (£23m to £16m) and boxed software (£935m to £904m).
“This data shows the increasing strength of the games market and confident consumer growth in our industry. We’re pleased to see the market soar to nearly £4.2bn for the first time, which is a result of the constant creative and technological innovation in the UK industry, which makes our consumer market extremely strong,” said Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie. “These statistics are hugely valuable to Ukie in our mission to promote the strength of our sector nationally — to investors, the media and policy makers — as well as internationally, where we aim to show that the UK is the best place in the world to make and sell games.”
“Almost £4.2bn is an incredible result, and the figures show that there is opportunity across the industry, from games to accessories, past toys, books and events,” added Chris Dring, editor of MCV. “Almost £1.9bn of the figures come from the booming digital sectors, which has become a major force for growth in games. But physical items still accounted for more than £2.3bn, so the results are positive for the entire business.”
2016 is shaping up to be another incredibly strong year for the games industry. On top of the recently announced London Games Festival, set to bring more international attention to the domestic industry, there are major releases set to drive sales — including Uncharted 4, a new Legend of Zelda game, and eagerly awaited indies such as No Man’s Sky — plus the possibility of the Nintendo NX actually launching, bolstering console hardware sales. Next year’s figures will have another new category to add too, as virtual reality gets a foothold in the market, strengthening an already robust and growing industry.
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