Which Areas of Gaming Are the Strongest in the UK?
In the UK, we love games. In 2020, over 36 million Brits picked up a controller, joystick, mouse, or handset to play at least one video game. According to a different study, that number rose to more than 44 million in 2021.
That means more than half of us enjoy this form of interactive entertainment in some form, at least from time to time.
It’s not just about playing games either. The UK is a hotbed of talent in the gaming industry, with major studios based up and down Great Britain, including many in Edinburgh, North West England, and around London.
The UK is also where many big gaming companies have chosen to list their shares, either part of them, or their business’ entire outstanding equity.
This creates a lot of diversity right across the UK, not only in terms of the geography of where content is produced, but also in the types of games that are developed. Naturally, some of them are performing better than the rest, so let’s take a look at which areas of gaming are strongest right now.
iGaming is the name given to the part of the gaming industry that develops online card rooms, casinos, and other forms of betting.
Brits have been able to enjoy games like poker online since the late 1990s, though many of the big brands we know today didn’t get their start until the 2000s.
The UK was actually one of the earliest countries to recognise the business potential for iGaming, including it in the Gambling Act of 2005, where it is referred to as “remote” gaming. Because of that, the country has a thriving iGaming sector, and many of the world’s biggest companies operate from within Great Britain or Crown Dependencies like the Isle of Man.
We can see evidence of this in the huge amounts invested in sponsorship and advertising as brands look to build market share and take it away from their rivals. We can also see this in efforts to provide educational content like guides that explain poker terminology that build a rapport with novice players and help them learn the ropes.
It’s working too. Remote gaming generates these companies around £6.9 billion in gross yield per year, the majority of which comes from card games and similar titles.
Of course, it isn’t just online card games that are succeeding in the UK. The country has a rich culture of developing globally successful video games, including several series that have made history.
The most notable of these is Grand Theft Auto, which has its roots in Scotland. Operating in Dundee, a company formerly known as DMA Design created the original 1997 release for the PlayStation and, under its new name, Rockstar North, continues to play a key role in the game’s development. Rockstar North has also been involved in creating Lemmings, Manhunt, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne, and L.A. Noire.
The UK isn’t a one-trick pony in this sphere. Through other companies, Britain has birthed the Burnout series, LittleBigPlanet, Project Gotham Racing, Football Manager, the Wipeout series, and Worms, to name just a few.
With this strong heritage, the console gaming industry continues to thrive today, with new titles making it to market all the time.
Not all successful games need to be developed by huge teams with budgets bigger than a Hollywood blockbuster. Some are created by small teams and individuals who turn a passion project into a business.
The UK government was forward thinking in this area too, and has developed initiatives like tax incentives and funding support to help encourage and facilitate the indie game industry in the country.
In this environment, developers like Bithell Games, Hello Games, Roll7, and the amusingly-named Llamasoft have all created hit titles.
For example, Hello Games has pioneered the use of procedural generation to create the hit No Man’s Sky. This is a title that punches well above the weight of the studio and is a testament to the talent available across the UK.