It’s time to get curious about the UK games sector

The UK games sector has had a record-breaking couple of years and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. From mobile and console games to wearables and software, the industry is fast-paced, ever-evolving, and seeing impressive annual growth. Over 46 million people across the UK are engaging with video games – 62% of which are adults – with the sector soaring to £7bn in market revenue in 2020. Between the accessibility of new games formats, and the entertainment and competition offered by games, the sector is creating something special that’s not easily replicated by other industries.

We are seeing games penetrate every aspect of daily life and in forms that we once thought were reserved for only the most competitive players. Adults across the UK are now exercising inside of a game with the help of a VR headset, teenagers are socialising and meeting their friends in the metaverse, and children are embracing education through mobile-based learning games. We are truly seeing a market shift, where the games sector is quickly becoming the most popular entertainment industry, which begs the question how do I dive in?

Over 46 million people across the UK are engaging with video games – 62% of which are adults – with the sector soaring to £7bn in market revenue in 2020.

If you have been following UKBAA and Creative UK for the last few years, you will have heard about Creative Enterprise Evolve – the British Film Institute (BFI) lottery-funded programme, designed by Creative UK and presented in partnership with UKBAA. This year, five of the thirteen businesses that make up the cohort represent games sector businesses. This games portion of the Evolve cohort is a perfect example of the diversity of businesses within the games sector, and more importantly, the opportunity for investors.  

Check out the businesses taking part this year:

  • Cardboard Sword is an independent game development company focusing entirely on own-IP creation. Running for over eight years, and with a AAA experienced team, they have two games in development and several proprietary tools.
  • Spilt Milk Studios is an independent game developer. Founded in 2010, they‘ve released 9 games commercially as well as countless jam games, festival installations, charity efforts, prototypes and a significant amount of work for hire with some of the industry’s biggest companies.
  • Huey Games is a video game developer founded by industry veterans specialising in Smart Console Porting, powered by HueyCore. They also develop award-winning original games, and license titles for their unique Collectors USB Cassette physical games collection.
  • Altered Gene is a remote development studio headquartered in the UK, with a mission to craft omni-channel games and experiences using the core pillars of story, quality and accessibility.
  • Nosebleed Interactive is a multi-award-winning game development studio, named as one of the Top 50 creative companies in the country. They have worked with some of the world’s biggest content providers such as Sony Interactive Entertainment and with brands such as Star Trek.

Between the incredible years’ worth of experience shared among the founding teams, the host of awards under their belts, and the impressive roster of published games, the Evolve games founders are something to get excited about.

So, we know there is huge potential in the sector and incredible demand for innovative new content. We know the games ecosystem is diverse, adaptive, and driving growth in other leading sectors. We also know the industry is generally unsaturated by early-stage investment, leaving us to ask how do I start to explore the sector and find deal flow?

We suggest starting with getting to know the ecosystem and what area might be right for you. The games industry is vast and has many important and equally exciting areas. It includes developers, publishers, distributors, hardware, and consumers, and within each area, there are a host of important aspects, all ripe for investment. It is important to plug in to the games sector and explore each of these areas to see what might be best suited for you.

Engage with the sector’s leading trade bodies and others supporting early-stage growth, including Ukie, the UK Games Fund, Creative UK, among many others. Start by signing up to their newsletters, access their market intelligence, attend industry events, learn more about current accelerator programmes and get to know the cohorts. The best way to know how the sector works is to connect to those who are working with and supporting the next potential global successes.

In addition to building your network by connecting with founders and other investors, think about what you could bring to the table for a potential investee business in the sector. Your industry experience, regardless of what sector it is in, could be vital to help a games business recognise its’ potential and begin the journey to high-growth success story. The sector is still largely underserved by angel and early-stage investment, so getting curious about it, thinking about your place within the sector, and having an open mind might just be the perfect recipe for a success story.

Find out more about Creative Enterprise Evolve by visiting ukbaa.org.uk/our-programmes  and www.wearecreative.uk


By UKBAA16 Feb 2022