The UK has a long history of making world class video games.
New research published by Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment) shows that the UK games market was worth some £4.3 billion in 2016. As of January 2017, there are 2,088 active games companies in the UK, operating at all sizes and scales, with world-class talent across the full spectrum of games technologies – from mobile, PC and console, to fast-developing sectors such as VR / AR, esports and Artificial Intelligence.
In March 2017, Minister for Culture and Digital Matt Hancock said at the London Games Festival “I strongly believe that the nexus of art and technology is how Britain will pay her way in the 21st Century. Video games are right at the heart of this nexus. They were born digital and exhibit some of the best creativity Britain has to offer.”
The Thames Valley is home to some of the world’s leading computer game companies who have produced so of the world’s most popular content, and is close to the Guildford cluster of gaming businesses. Truly global gaming businesses in the Thames Valley include:
TT Games Publishing – well known for their Lego Star Wars titles and holding the worldwide rights to develop Lego video games. The company was acquired by Warner Bros in 2007 and the group includes the games development studio TT Fusion and TV production company TT Animation.
Japanese giant Konami has its European headquarters in Windsor, within walking distance of the world famous castle! It set up this office with help from the Department of International Trade (then known as UKTI) and the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Also in Windsor is Nintendo Europe, one of the most famous video game companies in the world, with Pokemon and Super Mario Brothers perhaps their best known products. A truly global company, Nintendo chose Windsor as a base for its UK operations, including product management, marketing and operations.
Kalypso Media is a global independent developer, marketer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, headquartered in Germany. They specialise in strategy and simulation games including ‘Sins of a Solar Empire’ and the Tropico series.
NaturalMotion were bought by San Francisco based Zyenga for $527m in 2014. Over half of the 300+ workforce are based in the Thames Valley. As well as its own impressive back catalogue of games, NaturalMotion has provided software for games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Bioshock Infinite.
Rebellion is one of Europe’s largest independent game developers. It has had 24 number one hit games, including Alien vs Predator and Sniper Elite. The company now employs 200+ people, the majority of them at its studio base in the Thames Valley. Rebellion collaborates with the University of Oxford, who are right on their doorstep, in particular when hiring graduates and enabling training to include relevant programming skills. Read hereabout his interesting hobby and how that influences how he runs the business. For a video on how the Judge Dredd publisher has set up its own production company as it develops a TV series for its most iconic character, click here.
The Next Gen Skills Academy is a Thames Valley based national centre of excellence for the games, visual effects and animation industries. They work with leading employers in the exciting fields of games animation, and VFX to develop qualifications, training and courses from taster sessions in schools right through to career development training for industry professionals.