How great are the Great British Games and the Great British Games Industry?

As a nation we love games or sports or both. We are world class at making them. Perhaps not playing them, in fact, you could argue that one of our greatest exports was and is games. Which then other countries take to heart and outshine us at – at every conceivable occasion. However, the spirit of sport and the point of games is something which is very, very British! The spirit of fair play embodied in games like cricket helped us gain respect across continents and generations. And whether this fair play is still seen throughout sports (with countless examples of where it isn’t – Luiz Suarez biting someone for example) we can safely say if it wasn’t for the UK we wouldn’t have a truly mind bogglingly number of sports. Football, rugby, cricket, baseball, tennis, boxing, ice hockey (apparently) and I could go on (for those of you so minded – click here for a list of more than 20) But how is this relevant for the UK now?

I think we have a great opportunity, to do something amazing, to get behind the UK mobile games industry and video games industries and support the 9,000 or so highly skilled development staff that the industry employs. You see just like in days of old, where the UK invented games, UK game developers are export focused. 95 per cent of UK game businesses export at least some of their games/services to overseas markets. The industry, unlike the really rather horrid and incestuous finance and banking sector, is NOT London focused, 80 per cent of the workers are employed outside of London. And it’s not that they are not bright – it’s not the manufacturer of yesteryear in dark satanic mills. 80 per cent of the workforce in game studios such as Dojit Games, Climax, Jagex, Kuju Entertainment, Rebellion and Ubisoft Reflections are qualified to degree level or above. As an industry as well, unlike many others which are falling by the way, the UK game development sector is R&D intensive. Two fifths of UK game developers have a budget dedicated to R&D. UK game developers spend on average 20 per cent of turnover on R&D.   I wonder if the same can be said for construction. And to finish with – the eco icing on the economic educational cake, the video games sector is also low carbon in output.Most of the work in games development involves design on computers, the packaging in games is minimal (with mobile games development this is actually nothing at all) whilst boxed products are relatively light for videos games suppliers to manufacture and to transport. In the future, video games will become even more low carbon in nature as the industry moves towards digital distribution like in mobile games development right now.

So we here at dojit games think that mobile gaming is very important for the UK. Not just because it is creative and cool, but as it brings in needed revenue to the UK, has massive export potential – with 65% of our mobile games at dojit being downloaded in China! And as it follows a long traditional of games creation in this great country we call Great Britain. We make games for our world, exported with pride, and perhaps next time with a little bit of British culture too. Maybe Home Bear, our mobile game for children, should wear union jack pants? With the world now a global market place – isn’t it time Britain started exporting more?

Can you make a quintessentially British Game? If so what would it be? 

How do we make sure the uk economy doesn’t dip again?

A radical suggestion from a radical new industry job maker: Games.

Good news it would seem as The Office for National Statistics released its first estimates for GDP yesterday today with experts saying the news should deliver a “psychological boost to consumers and businesses”.

“Today’s figures are an encouraging sign the economy is healing,” said George Osborne. “We are making progress. Businesses have created over a million and a quarter new jobs, and interest rates are at record lows.”

Year on year, the economy has grown by 0.6%, above what the OECD predicted last month. Apparently the big winners or gainers here are in the service sector, which unsurprisingly for the UK is leading the way with quarter one growth of 0.6% whilst more old school tangible building things like in the construction sector shrank by 2.5% whilst production industries registered growth of just 0.2%.

So what does this say about the UK economy? Is it changing, should it change, should the government see this change and do more about it? Or can we rely on people building and buying houses forever?

Let me give you some other stats about a small and growing part of that economy, a part of a larger sector called the Creative Industry, something which has massive export potential, and helps Apple do a very important thing for America. It’s something we are part of at dojit games.

As Apple manufactures it’s products mainly in China but as this very interesting paper shows because of the app economy (i.e. people building apps and mobile games for iOS) The end result of it is that the app economy produces twice as many jobs in the US economy as there are people working to make Apple products in China.

This has BIG implications, and I think it is here that we have the answer for the UK. We start believing in advanced digital manufacturer. We start understanding the economic power of mobile games and mobile games development.

You have to remember that this industry is entirely new: before Apple et al brought out the iPhone and the smart phone revolution that following in 2007 none of it existed at all. It’s a radical new wealth creator. Just like it’s older brother video games. Which itself is advanced and creative digital manufacturing at its best.

The UK video games industry is the largest in Europe and the UK, it’s a world class location for video game development. The UK boasts a substantial and highly qualified talent pool, some of the finest video games studios globally, technical as well as creative excellence, an ongoing ability to generate products that sell well globally and to create original video games IP.

The UK is home to the studios that have developed video games such as Grand Theft Auto IV (the fastest selling entertainment product of all time), Runescape, the Fable series, Broken Sword and LittleBigPlanet.

The video game sector offers opportunities for growth and high value, high technology job creation for the UK. Estimates from PWC suggest that the global market for video games will grow from $52.5 billion in 2009 to $86.8 billion in 2014. TIGA’s, the really rather wonderful games union, has an ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business and so enable the UK economy to secure a growing share of this huge market.

The UK games development sector contributes approximately £1 billion to UK Gross Domestic Product  per annum. Whilst a survey of developers conducted by Games Investor Consulting, saw the sector grew by 4% per cent in 2012, remember the service industry grew by 0.6%. So how’s that for growth George? Let’s get behind the UK mobile game industry and make sure we don’t do the triple dip!