Games Industry Growth: Why right now is the best time to join the party

We’ve only just started 2022 and already we’ve been flooded with positive and hopeful news about the creative industries and their successes, despite navigating some very difficult circumstances. 

We discussed before Christmas that the UK film industry is thriving with a record £6 billion valuation, as streaming services spend big on our shores. In more exciting news last week it was announced that the UK games market has doubled in size in 10 years, to a staggering £4.29 billion which is twice as much in terms of revenue as the music industry. 

Breaking down the numbers, the amount of revenue earned in 2021 is 14% higher than 2019, an unprecedented jump. One of the biggest contributors to this figure is mobile gaming, worth £1.5 billion, with console gaming (digital and physical) earning a combined £1.05 billion and PC gaming (digital and physical) worth £217 million.

Worth noting is declining growth of physical game sales across all platforms compared to 2020, with physical console disc sales reducing revenue by 20.4%, physical PC game sales by 52.1% and physical handheld dropping by a massive 66.6%. 

What that means in simple terms is that the move from physical to digital that has been predicted for a long time appears to finally be coming in full force. This switch shouldn’t come as a surprise. With more widely accessible, faster internet speeds, better digital game retailers, services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass and dedicated ‘digital only’ consoles being released for the first time, physical games have been on the chopping block for a while. Arguably, there will always be some consumers who prefer physical editions of games, but as high street games retailers begin to decline, the old ways of trading in finished games is likely to decline with it. 

If the only figures available focused on a reduction of physical sales, it might be time to worry about the long-term health of the games industry. Fortunately, the numbers are healthy and forecast a bright future for this innovative and far-reaching sector. With huge console and PC games announced and in the works, plus a very healthy mobile gaming sector (backed up by Take Two’s $13 billion acquisition of mobile powerhouse Zynga, rumoured to be paving the way for huge franchises like BioShock, Borderlands and more to come to mobile platforms), headlines like this could become the norm. 

That goes without mentioning an increased drive to integrate VR gaming experiences into normal play with the upcoming launch of PS VR 2, plus unique experiences available on Oculus, Vive and the current PS VR headsets. Alongside that, Nintendo’s Switch has built a strong following shored up by groundbreaking experiences such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and that’s without mentioning Valve’s Steam Deck (think a handheld PC that allows you to play your Steam library anywhere you want without the need for a hefty desktop gaming PC) moving ever closer to launch on the horizon. 

Taking all of this into account, it’s clear that the games industry is one of the most innovative industries, unafraid to take risks and try new things, and deserving of recognition as a strong economic contributor. In the UK alone, we have a historic wealth of incredible developers releasing or directly contributing to massive titles, including: 

  • Rockstar North (GTA V, Red Dead Redemption 2)
  • Traveller’s Tales (LEGO series, Crash Bandicoot)
  • Rare (Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong)
  • Team17 (Worms, Overcooked)
  • Rocksteady (Batman Arkham Series)

And that list is not exhaustive. Great games are made in the UK and each of the developers based here need vast teams of people to help them create, innovate and develop. In short, if you love games and want to get involved in creating them, now is the time to jump in with both feet and seize your career opportunity. 

Our School of Games has a range of courses available at our seven campuses nationwide and applications are open now for September 2022. Find the course that suits you here. You never know where it might lead.