According to the figures commissioned by UK video game trade body ELSPA, the UK computer and video games industry has outperformed both the UK’s film and television industries, with a positive balance of trade of almost £200 million ($384m).
As a contrast, according to this survey, film and TV within the UK has consistently recorded deficits in the last few years with -£282 million (-$541m) and -£465 million (-$892m), respectively in 2003.
However Roger Bennett, director general of ELSPA is cautious about what the games industry’s current success could mean for the future.
Bennett commented: "It raises the question of what lies in the future? The years ahead look less promising for the UK development and publishing sector. Our greatest asset is our creativity and in recent times we have seen this talent being leeched away through lack of funding and more attractive prospects overseas.”
He continued: "The UK is at risk of losing its position both as the font of some of the most successful games produced for a global market worth $20 billion and as the major European destination for global investment."
"It is now time for the Government to recognize the valuable contribution we make to the UK economy, comparative to other entertainment sectors. It needs to give the games industry the same level of support provided to the film industry for example as announced on Thursday in this week’s budget. The Government should also reflect the policy in other countries where investment in game technology and creativity is encouraged and where attractive location incentives are readily available."
In recent yearsm the Nordic region, as well as Eastern and Central Europe have gained substantial ground on the traditional games development powerhouses of the UK, U.S. and Japan. Local and national government investment incentive schemes have contributed to the growth in these new territories.
The report finds that the UK video games industry currently employs more than 22,000 people - reflecting a rise of 7.5 percent since 2000. However, between 2000 and 2004, the number of employees working for UK game development studios shrunk by 6 percent. The increased cost in developing current-generation console games seems to have reduced the number of development companies who have been able to survive. The overall rise in employment can be explained by the increase in people working in other sectors of the games industry - publishing, distribution and retail.