Video gaming in the United Kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The United Kingdom is Europe's second largest video game market after Germany and the fifth largest in the world.[1] The UK video game market was worth £5.7 billion in 2018, a 10% increase over the previous year.[2] From this, £4.01 billion was from the sales of software (+10.3% increase over 2017), £1.57 billion from the sales of hardware (+10.7% increase), and £0.11 billion from the sales of other game related items.[3] In the software market, the data showed a significant increase in digital and online revenues, up +20.3% to a record £2.01bn.[4] £1.17 billion of software sales came from mobile games.

In 2009, the profits of Britain's video game industry exceeded those from its film industry for the first time.[5] Many major video game franchises are developed in the UK, including Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider, Burnout, LittleBigPlanet, Wipeout and Dirt, making UK the third largest producer of video game series behind Japan and United States. The best-selling video game series made in the UK is Grand Theft Auto (primary developed by Rockstar North in Edinburgh, Scotland) which the series has sold over 150 million copies as of September 2013, the recent instalment Grand Theft Auto V became the fastest-selling video game of all time by making $815.7 million (£511.8 million) in sales worldwide during the first 24 hours of the game's sale. Grand Theft Auto V went on to break several other records such as Best-selling action-adventure video game in 24 hours, Fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion, Fastest video game to gross $1 billion, Highest grossing video game in 24 hours, Highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours and Most viewed trailer for an action-adventure video game.[6]

The organisations responsible for rating video games in the UK are the British Board of Film Classification and PEGI, the latter of which was elected to rate British games in 2009 and subsequently began doing so in July 2012.[7] The United Kingdom's video game industry is estimated to employ 20,000 people.[8] One of the United Kingdom's greatest contributions to the worldwide gaming industry was the 1982 release of the ZX Spectrum home computer.

The Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) was established in 2014 to help support creativity in the UK games industry. According to TIGA,[9] prior to this, the UK Games industry was lagging behind other countries where game developers benefitted from substantial tax breaks and government grants: “Between 2008 and 2011, employment in the [games industry] fell by over 10 per cent and investment fell by £48 million”. Thus the UK VGTR aims to ensure the UK games industry’s competitiveness on the global stage, promotes investment and job creation and encourage the production of culturally British video games. The key benefit of the tax relief is that qualifying companies can claim up to 20% of their “core expenditure” back, provided that expenditure has been made in the European Economic Area.[10]

In recent years, Northern Ireland has made increasing contributions to the United Kingdom's video game industry.[11] In March 2012, Parliament instated certain tax reliefs for UK game developers.[12]


In 2000, Channel 4 produced a documentary, Thumb Candy, on the history of video games.[13] It includes footage from old Nintendo commercials.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]. NewZoo (2014-06-23). Retrieved on 2016-04-06.
  2. ^ Alex, Schmidt (2019-04-02). "UK games market was up 10% to £5.7 billion in 2018". WholesGame. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  3. ^ "UK gaming market worth record £5.7bn". BBC. 2019-04-02. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  4. ^ Luke, Hebblethwaite (2019-04-02). "UK consumer spend on games grows 10% to a record £5.7bn in 2018". UK Interactive Entertainment Association. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  5. ^ Rosenberg, Dave. (2009-12-31) Video games outsell movies in U.K. | Software, Interrupted - CNET News. Retrieved on 2011-05-07.
  6. ^ "Grand Theft Auto 5 breaks 6 sales world records". Guinness World Records.
  7. ^ "PEGI ratings become UK's single video game age rating system". The Association For UK Interactive Entertainment. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2012-12-10. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "Creative Industries Economic Estimates: Focus on..." Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2016-09-09. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "BBC News - The changing face of NI's video gaming industry". BBC. 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  12. ^ Henderson, Rik (2012-03-21). "UK tax relief break". Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  13. ^ Thumb Candy. Thumb Candy - The history of computer games 2000. YouTube. Published by QLvsJAGUAR. Published on 12 February 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  14. ^ Gaming Life UK. IGN. Published 24 June 2002. Retrieved 6 December 2017.

External links[edit]