The growing popularity and influence of the UK gaming industry was fully illustrated at the weekend, with the opening of the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham. It was a historic moment, representing a world first in terms of a cultural centre being made available for gamers, being both a centre and a museum for game enthusiasts. There are many who would object to the gaming industry being referred to as being part of 'the arts', critics clearly not viewing the aesthetic qualities in the same light as other (more traditional) art forms, but what can't be doubted are the numbers and sales that the industry generates. Indeed, such is the popularity with the general public that statistics show that the UK gaming industry was able to outperform both film and music during 2014..
The five-floor NVA will allow those interested in games and gaming to look back at the history of the industry and to also get an idea of what is coming along next. With queues of people waiting patiently (or maybe slightly impatiently) for the doors to open at 10am last Saturday, it was clear that there was at least a good deal of initial interest in the new venture. Time will tell whether that interest is sustained, but the market seems extremely buoyant and full of excitement at the moment.
Why is there such an interest in the gaming industry at present? A look at the basic figures illustrates just how lucrative the industry is in terms of making business sense and its ability to form a likely profitable business case, with an estimated 1.6 billion gamers globally available to tap into.
Gaming is no longer the poor relation when compared to financing, as the most expensive video game of all time, "Destiny", is believed to have cost some £310 million to create. That outstrips the reported most expensive film of all time, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", which reportedly cost almost £277 million to make.
The target market among the population is pretty evenly split between the sexes, with recent figures suggesting that women now just outnumber men in terms of the number of gamers in the United Kingdom (52% compared to 48%). Those statistics are not reflected in terms of the people involved in the industry itself though, which is still male-dominated in terms of numbers, with less than 15% of the UK workforce being women at present. In fact perhaps slightly surprisingly for a country that would maybe claim that it performs better in terms of sexual equality in the workplace compared to other countries, that notion is not borne out by the figures.
It is believed that the global percentage of women involved in the gaming industry is in excess of 20%, although that still seems a damning statistic and explains the continued efforts by women to attain greater equality going forward. #Videogames