In 2010, the UK video games industry was worth £4.65bn — a 2.8% rise on the previous year. The market has seen consistent growth over the last few years, with the exception of 2009, when market value fell by 5.7%. This was principally down to a lack of new products and the economic crisis, which caused consumers to reign in their spending on unnecessary items, such as video games.
The range of consoles on the market at present has become somewhat stagnant in recent years and, as a result, the three main console manufacturers — Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft — have reacted by releasing extensions of their consoles that incorporate motion-sensitive technology, e.g. the Xbox Kinect. This new type of technology has proved extremely popular with consumers, although, a new generation of consoles will be needed in the next few years in order for market value to continue to improve.
Since their release in 2007, smartphones have increased in popularity and provided a boost to market value. The hugely successful iPhone and Android phone ranges have been the main reasons behind the accelerated uptake of mobile phone gaming. Thousands of games are now available to download for free, while others can be bought to download at the relatively cheap price of 59 pence (p) or more. Although this price is a fraction of the price of dedicated console games, the volume of mobile phone games sold is much larger.
The UK is one of the largest consumers and producers of video games in the world. It sits alongside the US, Japan and other European countries, as one of the highest spenders on video games. The UK is the leading force in terms of video games development in Europe, and is home to 48 of the world’s top 100 development studios according to games developer, develop100.com.
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