Games Up? The Stats

Games Up? The Stats

By Develop

May 27th 2008 at 9:27AM

As part of the recently-announced Games Up? campaign lobbying for tax breaks for games studios and better higher education, the organisers have published stats and facts proving their case about the commercial strength of the UK. The details, in full, are provided below:

About the Games Up? Campaign

The Games Up? Campaign is the result of a collaboration by a group of major UK-based games development studios, supported by two games industry trade bodies, ELSPA and Tiga. In total, the campaign’s contributors represent more than 200 companies, or 75 per cent of UK games development and publishing companies.

Games Up? seeks to highlight the opportunities as well as the serious competitive issues presented by the UK’s gaming industry.


Who plays games in the UK?


• There are at least 26.5 million interactive gamers in the UK [2060 face to face interviews and 1382 internet interviews were conducted by MC&A on behalf of BBC Audience Research. Source: BBC State of Play, 2006]

• The average age of a gamer is 28 years old [Source: BBC State of Play, 2006]

• In recent years there has been significant growth in the number of older gamers playing on accessible platforms like Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Nintendo’s Wii.

• 48% of gamers are female [Source: BBC State of Play, 2006]

• Only 3% of games sold in the UK in 2007 had a mature/18+ rating. Over half of games sold were appropriate for under seven year olds. [Source: Source: ELSPA / Video Standards Council and Byron Review / Entertainment Retailers Association, 2007]

• 6-15 year olds say games are their favourite entertainment medium


UK-made games on the world stage


• The global games software market was worth nearly £18bn in 2007 [Source: Source: Games Investor Consulting (GIC) / Screen Digest ] and is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 9% per annum over next five years [Compound annual growth rate. Source Price Waterhouse Coopers], making it the third fastest growing media segment after TV and online advertising [Source: GIC / Price Waterhouse Coopers ]


• The UK has been the third largest producer of games in the world for most of the last two decades. In 2006 and 2007, the UK lost this long-held position to Canada, where local and national governments alike have been providing generous and extensive support specific to the games industry [Source: UK-made games market shares 2003: 15.3%, 2006: 12.36%, 2007: 10.6%. Exuberant Youth DTI/Spectrum, Playing for Keeps UKTI/BERR/GIC 2007 and GIC 2008]

• In 2007, the UK games software market (as opposed to the games development market) recorded a remarkable 26% growth at retail to reach a record value of £1.7 billion [Source: Source ELSPA 2008]

• Between 2006-2008, UK-made games are projected to generate nearly £4bn globally [Global sales of UK-made games. Historical 2006 and 2007 figures and projected 208 figures Source: GIC]

• The UK has originated some of today’s biggest global games franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider, SingStar, Football Manager and Rollercoaster Tycoon

UK studios’ contribution to the UK economy


• UK-based games studios spent nearly half a billion pounds in the UK in 2007, with 280 companies employing 10,000 creative staff, whose numbers are growing by 4% per annum [The studio sector employs nearly 10,000 staff in the UK, 4,200 of whom work at the country’s 163 independent developers, a further 4,500 at 45 publisher studios or publisher head offices, and the remainder as freelancers or in services or technology companies. The number of staff across the whole UK development industry has grown by 8% from 9,150 to 9,9950, and expenditure on games development has risen from £424 million to £458 million. Source: GIC 2008]


• The UK games industry is spread around the UK, with studio clusters in Edinburgh, Dundee, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Guildford, Cambridge, Oxford, London and Brighton.

• The games industry has been a substantial net contributor to the UK’s economy – one of few in the entertainment sector adding nearly £200m to the UK’s balance of trade in 2003 [Games contributed a £197m positive balance of trade in 2005 vs film’s £-282m and television £-465m Source: Screen Digest 2005], and is expected to remain a net contributor.

• The games industry as a whole employs more than 22,000 people in studios, publishing and retail positions [Source: Games Investor Consulting 2008]


Games versus other media


• The average worker in a UK games studio generated more than twice as much revenue globally as the average worker in a UK film studio in 2007 [£124,000 in global sales per games developer vs £49,253 in global sales per film worker. Roughly 30,000 freelance and permanent production staff working UK film generated £1.65bn globally in 2007 vs 10,000 games staff generated £1.24bn globally in 2007. Source UK Film Council and GIC]


• The UK-made Grand Theft Auto series has sold more than 70 million units worldwide, and generated more than £1.75bn at retail. GTA IV launched recently, selling over £250m and 6m units in its first week [Source: Take Two]

• GTA IV easily overtook the biggest ever film launch, Pirates of the Caribbean in 2007, which took £200m in its opening week. [Source: Variety]

• GTA IV took £150m on its first day, five times more than the biggest opening day for a film, which was Spiderman 3 in 2007 that made £30m. [Source: Variety & Take Two]