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Video Games

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of people employed by (a) games developers, (b) games publishers, (c) games distributors, (d) games retailers and (e) other industries and services associated with the games industry in each year since 1997. (196876)

Accurate data describing the video and computer games sector are not regularly collated or in fact readily available to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, particularly as the sector has not had its own separate Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code.

However, in 2002 the Department of Trade and Industry published “From Exuberant Youth to Sustainable Maturity”, a full competitiveness analysis of the computer games sector carried out by independent consultants, Spectrum Strategy. According to this report, in 2000 employment in the computer games sector totalled over 20,000 broken down as follows :

Number

Games developers

6,000

Games publishers

2,350

Games distributors

1,000

Games retailers

8,000

Associated sectors/services

3,000

In October 2007, UKTI published “Playing for Keeps”, a report commissioned from independent consultants Games Investor which included a range of valuable new data on the competitiveness of the UK games development sector compared to key competitor territories including the US and Canada. This report confirmed that 8,000 people plus 700 freelancers were employed in games development in the UK in 2006.

New figures for employment in non-development roles were not collected as part of the “Playing for Keeps” study. However, “European Interactive Games - the 2005 State of the Industry Report” published by consultants Screen Digest in association with the Entertainment and Leisure Software Association suggested that by 2004 the total employment figure for the UK computer games industry had risen to 22,190, of which, 16,190 were in publishing, distribution, retail and associated services.