Video games are often associated with Asia, but London is actually a major player in this sector. The city has features that make it a very appealing destination for investments in the gaming industry. The tax incentives offered by the government are just one of them. There are many other reasons why investors continue to support gaming development in London and the UK as a whole. Even Asian gaming companies have been investing in London gaming companies or establishing subsidiaries in the city.

This November 23, 2021 session of Beyond Virtual features the following panelists.

For this session, a panel consisting of experts in gaming and related fields was invited to discuss the state and prospects of London as a hub for gaming. The panelists include a law firm partner specializing in the gaming sector, a games industry trade association representative, and a talent recruitment specialist focusing on the gaming industry.

The panel provide their insights on the most important aspects of the gaming industry in London and the UK in general.

Here are the highlights of the discussions.

  • The games industry in the UK, in many ways, benefitted from the lockdowns and physical distancing rules imposed in response to the pandemic over the past 18 to 20 months. Revenues have gone up dramatically with revenue growth for 2020 and the early part of 2021 at around 18 percent.
  • There has been a rise in activities around the whole gaming sector in terms of mergers and acquisitions, the prices and multiples paid for gaming companies, IPOs, increases in company market valuations, and interest in investing at all stages.
  • Greater interest in investing in gaming companies comes from various places including bigger gaming companies and PE firms that are looking to acquire smaller startups.
  • Gaming is seen not only as a form of entertainment for people. It is also increasingly becoming a form of interaction as gamers also communicate with the people they are playing with instead of simply playing to enjoy the games.
  • The growth of the gaming industry during the pandemic has made game development and professional gaming a viable career path.
  • Even as the UK is already starting to open up and other sectors are already returning to some form of normalcy, growth in the games industry has not mellowed down and there has been increasing interest in acquiring more talent and doing M&As.
  • The biggest gaming companies in the world including Sony, Microsoft, Activision, Electronic Arts, Nintendo have consistently invested in the UK. The reasons they are doing so have not changed pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. The UK, London in particular, has proven to be a hub for the gaming industry.
  • The UK has noteworthy talents for the gaming industry, showing an excellent combination of creativity and technical prowess. There are rapid improvements in game development in Asia, but the UK talent still stands out when it comes to skills and creativity.
  • Aside from the talent, other crucial factors that make investment in the UK gaming industry include the presence of a financial services center, low corporation tax, and relationships with other creative industries. The whole gaming ecosystem in the UK continues to entice investors.
  • The video games tax relief is one of the best reasons why investors are attracted to put up or invest in gaming businesses in the UK. Companies that develop their games in the UK get up to 20 percent of the core production cost of the game.
  • Additionally, setting up business in the UK is also notably easy and there are no restrictions on foreign ownership.
  • London is the epicenter for the UK gaming industry, but there are 14 to 15 games clusters around the UK that ceaselessly attract investments.

“You’ve got multiple reasons. You’ve got tax relief. You’ve got the ease of coming and setting up and investing here. There’s a huge pool of talent in this area. And there has been a lot of investment by Asian companies into English gaming companies over the last few years … It’s a dynamic market in the UK and very attractive for investors.” – Robert Fenner

“Originally with COVID, you know, what we saw was huge hardware sales, all the hardware was selling out, and that’s expanded the player base for video games across the industry. And what that has sort of slowly extrapolated to is now the huge investment in video games that’s materializing as publishing deals, games being greenlit, and as a result, companies are hiring like we’ve never seen before.” – Alan Dixon

“The games industry is continuing to expand, even as other sectors are opening up. So that shows a certain amount of faith in what games is doing as a creative industry, which is excellent. It’s not a short-term thing. This does seem to be something which is continuing.” – Sam Collins

Watch the panels across the week here. Click to check out the FULL virtual programs.

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BEYOND Expo on-site event will be held on December 2 to 4, 2021 at the Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Centre. See you there!

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