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UK Gaming Industry’s Unconventional Rise in 2023

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Amid industry-wide layoffs, the closure of PlayStation’s London Studio marks a significant shift in the UK gaming landscape. (Image: Robert Evans / Alamy)

If you have children, you will know all about gaming by now. Even if you have not played online or computer games, you may have become familiar with some of the names of the games and even the companies. 

You may be one of those mums or dads who actually participate with your child or children and if so, you will be one of the many people who have contributed to the rise of the gaming industry in the UK.  

According to a report by RSM UK, the UK gaming industry, not including casino sites, grew by an incredible 22% in 2023.  

Based on a growth rate of 11.9%, this sector could be worth £13.2 billion by 2024.  

One of the largest growth areas in the UK was in the East of England, with a colossal growth of 80% with new gaming studios opening.

There was 32% growth in the West region of the UK and in London, company growth expanded by 30%. 


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Have Job Losses Fuelled New Growth Through Startups? 

Richard Heap of RSM UK has put the growth down to some of the difficulties following large scale layoffs in the industry, which he claims have sparked those who were victims of the downturn to enter the market with start-ups.  

Heap said that layoffs are often seen as damaging to the gaming industry. He suggests that the industry could see a further uptick as a result of more people finding themselves out of a job as companies implement staff reductions to cut costs.  

Within the last few days, London’s Playstation Studios shut down after 20 years in operation. 

It follows the announcement by Sony Interactive Entertainment some months ago that they were laying off 900 staffers.

Writing on his blog days, Jim Ryan, President & CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment, said: “The PlayStation community means everything to us, so I felt it was important to update you on a difficult day at our company.”

“We have made the extremely hard decision to announce our plan to commence a reduction of our overall headcount globally by about 8% or about 900 people, subject to local law and consultation processes. Employees across the globe, including our studios, are impacted.” – Ryan said.

What does this mean for employees?

  • Reducing headcount by about 900 people, or about 8% of current workforce  
  • Impact for employees across all SIE regions—Americas, EMEA, Japan, and APAC   
  • Several PlayStation Studios are affected  

In an email to employees, the CEO wrote: I know that receiving this news will be hard and unsettling and you are wondering what this means for you. Timelines and procedures for how we approach this will vary based on your location due to local laws and regulations. 

What’s proposed for UK staff? 

  • PlayStation Studios’ London Studio will close in its entirety 
  • Reductions to be made in Firesprite studio 
  • A reduction in various functions across SIE in the UK. 

PlayStation Studio London posted on X: For over twenty years, London Studio has been home to some exceptionally talented and wonderful people in the games industry. As we close the doors, and all go forward to new adventures, we wanted to say a heartfelt thank you, to all our past and present, players and colleagues who have supported us over the years. We’ve had one wild and wonderful journey!

Not All Doom and Gloom

The UK gaming industry found itself being the second-largest video game market in Europe by revenue in 2022, after Germany, and the sixth largest globally. By sales, it is Europe’s largest market, having overtaken Germany in 2022. The UK video game market was worth £7.16 billion ($9.81 billion) in 2021, a 2% increase over the previous year.  

In 2023, the revenue of the UK gaming market reached 7.82 billion pounds.

The UK gaming market continues to grow, according to a report from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE).  

Key Facts on Growth in UK Gaming Industry

Despite layoffs, the industry grew by 22% in 2023, fueled by the emergence of startups and strong regional expansion. (Image: Screengrab from The Data City)

Despite its popularity, the industry has gone through some tough times in recent years, and, unconventionally, as a result of numerous job losses, something rose out of the ashes. Those who found themselves jobless took the initiative to form start-up companies themselves, which appear to be fueling the growth in the industry, albeit in an unconventional way.  

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