Video gaming in the United Kingdom
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The United Kingdom is Europe's second largest video game market after Germany and the fifth largest in the world. The UK video game market was worth £4.33 billion in 2016, a 1.2% increase over the previous year. From this, £3.1 billion was from the sales of software (+4.2% increase over 2015), £1.1 billion from the sales of hardware (-6.8% decline), and £0.1 billion from the sales of other game related items (+9.7% increase). Almost £1 billion of 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. 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.
The organizations 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. The United Kingdom's video game industry is estimated to employ 20,000 people. 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, 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.
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