Video games in Coventry and Warwickshire
Reach a global audience across the full spectrum of games technologies, from mobile, PC and console, to fast-developing sectors such as VR/AR and eSports.
Coventry and Warwickshire, and more specifically Royal Leamington Spa, provides a perfect opportunity to exploit the growing global demand for video game content, worth an estimated £128 billion in 2021. Companies can work collaboratively with locally based global industry players and world-leading researchers to design and develop next generation high quality games for console and PC, mobile and AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality).
West Midlands (Coventry and Warwickshire)
Foreign direct investment
Augmented reality and virtual reality, Creative industries
Sector and market opportunity
This is an exceptional opportunity for an investor to plug into a world-leading games development and publishing ecosystem.
The region has the capabilities, skills and assets to support you in creating quality, internationally recognised console, PC, mobile and AR/VR gaming content. Companies in the region have access to a wide range of great space for developers, and to local networks designed to connect with the latest developments and opportunities.
Consumers in the UK and globally are devouring world-class video games and content across all digital formats. The global games audience is about 2.6 billion, ensuring a ready-made market for you to tap into.
The global games market will grow with a healthy CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for 2019 to 2024 of 8.7% to reach £159.3 billion in 2024. According to Ukie’s (the trade association for UK Interactive Entertainment) annual UK Consumer Games Market Valuation, UK consumers spent a record £7 billion on game and game related activities in 2020, an increase of 29% on the previous year.
Developed over 4 decades, Royal Leamington Spa has a clear customer, partner and supply base that companies can access directly. There are more than 80 active games companies in Coventry and Warwickshire (of which two-thirds are in and around Royal Leamington Spa).
Studios across the region are working on AAA titles and renowned IP with global reputations including:
- Forza Horizon series – Playground Games Xbox Studio
- Dirt Rally and F1 – Codemasters
- Sonic Dash and Sonic Forces – Sega Hardlight
- Warhammer: Realm War – Pixel Toys
Birmingham Airport is the UK’s third-largest airport outside London, with more than 150 direct connections.
The region is also well connected to the rest of the UK, with more than 6 million people within 1 hour’s drive of Coventry city centre.
Local rail links intersect all major routes north and south. This will include the forthcoming HS2, set to improve travel times across the country.
Local talent and skills
The 11 Higher Education Institutes in the region are offering courses linked to the video games sector.
A globally significant gaming cluster employs more than 2,000 highly skilled people, equating to over 10% of the UK total in games development.
Research and expertise
The region has an exceptional research and development capability, including CUE Interactive, Gamer Camp, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and Warwickshire College Group.
Further assets include the Disruptive Media Learning Lab at Coventry University, the Coventry Simulation Centre and the Warwick Manufacturing Group, which works across industry to create and commercialise new manufacturing and product innovation.
The Midlands is at the forefront of technologies such as industrial digitisation, life sciences and alternative fuels. It's home to world-class assets and centres of innovative excellence. The region is ideally placed for the distribution of manufactured goods, reaching 92% of the UK population within 4 hours. Birmingham is at the heart of one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects, HS2, and hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Local and national government support
The UK government believes that immersive technologies and content offer great potential for economic, cultural and social benefits. The UK has a dynamic, flexible and open video games sector that is underpinned by a supportive regulatory environment.
In 2020, the Creative Industries Council launched a Sector Deal to unlock growth for creative businesses in the UK. There have been some exciting developments since the Deal’s announcement, showing the best of how government and industry can work together to benefit the sector. These include the Creative Clusters Programme, the Cultural Development Fund and the Creative Scale-up Programme.
Local support is available through Invest Coventry and Warwickshire, which provides soft landing support bespoke to each investor and their specific needs. Local specialist advice is also available throughout the entire investor journey.
Hardlight is owned by Sega as one of five studios under Sega Europe, (which also includes: Creative Assembly, Sports Interactive, Relic Entertainment, and Amplitude Studios.) As a developer, Hardlight is focused on mobile games for smartphones and established themselves in Leamington Spa in 2014.
The studio is famous for titles such as Sonic Dash and Crazy Taxi and most recently developed ChuChu Rocket! Universe and Sonic Racing for Apple Arcade. Sonic Dash has been downloaded more than 350 million times and earned more than $10.1 million. The studio now employees over 60 people.
Originally Lab 42 was owned by Atlanta, Georgia-based You42, Inc, established in 2007. After opening global offices in places such as China, 2015 saw the creation of Lab 42 in Leamington Spa drawing in on industry experience from the likes of Activision, Codemasters, EA and Sumo Digital.
Lab 42 has become well established within the cluster, employing over 50 people and enjoying continued growth over the last couple of year. In 2020 Lab 42 was acquired by Sumo Group, becoming the 2nd Sumo Digital studio in the cluster, joining sister studio Sumo Leamington.
With the largest in-house game development staff in the world, Ubisoft gathers more than 14,000 team members in more than 40 studios around the world. Ubisoft attracts the best and brightest from all continents with talent, creativity & innovation at its core. In 2017 Ubisoft expanded its presence in the UK with the acquisition of FreeStyleGames from Activision. The studio is now known as Ubisoft Leamington.
With a team of 100 that’s growing, the studio works in close collaboration with Ubisoft’s other UK-based studio – Ubisoft Reflections - on a range of AAA games but have had a focus on Tom Clancy’s The Division.
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