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Video games industry

Research guide

Published: 23 Jun 2017 Updated: 18 Oct 2023 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

Post-Brexit migration and accessing foreign talent in the Creative Industries
Research paper published by the Creative Industries Policy and Education Centre in March 2023. Explores how the UK's Creative Industries, including video games, have been impacted by Brexit with a particular focus on migration and foreign workers.

Back to the future (and into the metaverse): the video games industry in 2022 and beyond
Briefing from global law firm Taylor Wessing on the outlook for the video games industry in 2022. Published in November 2021

Global entertainment and media outlook
PwC's annual in-depth report on advertising and consumer spending covers a variety of different industry sectors, including video games. Selected data and commentary on each sector is available free of charge.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

Market research and consultancy firm specialising in the interactive media and video game industry. It offers monthly briefings and reports on the console, online, PC and mobile gaming markets. Some older briefings and report samples are available free of charge.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including computer game publishing. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

Report from Mintel covering the UK video games and console market. The website includes a summary and the option to view a contents listing.

Games industry market research specialists offering global and country-specific reports, including data on iOS and Android app downloads and revenue. Quarterly trend reports, monthly rankings and infographics on various topics are available free of charge.

Plunkett Research
The business market research firm offers a number of reports on video games, mobile, smartphone apps and social media. A table of contents and overview are available free of charge.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie)

Ukie compiles a wide range of data and industry statistics on the UK video games industry. Its Games Industry Main Page covers the geography of the UK industry, investment, crowdfunding, exports and imports, job market and economic contribution, workforce, success stories and UK player demographics.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment – average during the year;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Publishing of computer games (58.21)
    See Section J: Information and communication

Other sources

UK Games Map
An interactive, real-time map of the UK games industry built in partnership by the Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) and Nesta. It provides a list of UK games companies and measures how the sector clusters across the UK.

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Publishing of computer games (J5821)
    See database section ‘SBS – services’

Statistics on the Americas

Entertainment Software Association (ESA)

The US ESA provides industry facts including data on the economic impact of the industry with figures by state.

The association produces an annual report giving data and analysis of sales and consumers:

Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC)

ESAC produces an annual research report Essential facts about the Canadian video game industry, giving data on industry structure, employment, sales and consumers. The latest editions include:

Global statistics

UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie)

Ukie publishes industry data and statistics on the global video games market.

Casual Connect

Casual Connect, part of the Casual Games Association, produces a number of global research reports covering smartphone and tablet gaming, social casino gaming, freemium gaming and other sectors.


From 1996 to 2016 KPMG produced the biennial report and database Competitive Alternatives comparing business costs and trends by location across mature and high growth markets around the world. Some documents are still available via MMK Consulting's Competitive Alternatives Study Archive which provide insight into cost components for the digital entertainment sector.



The Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) includes average employment costs within this sector which can be found in Table 14. Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for software professionals.

The annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), published by the Office for National Statistics, includes total employee and employment estimates for different industries for Great Britain and the UK. Figures are broken down to show full-time/part-time and public/private splits. The dataset Industry – Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES): Table 2 includes statistics for:

  • Publishing of computer games (58210)

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation

New grants for rising star developers to help turn video game ideas into smash hits
Press release providing details of an extra £5 million of government funding for companies to help get games in development ready for market. Published by GOV.UK on 14 September 2023.

Corporation Tax: creative industry tax reliefs
Guidance published by GOV.UK on how to qualify and claim for Corporation Tax creative industry tax reliefs including Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR)

Video Game Tax Relief Evaluation
Research published by HM Revenue & Customs in July 2017 exploring the impact of the Video Game Tax Relief on the production of culturally British and European video games.

Creative industries statistics
Annual statistics published by GOV.UK from HM Revenue and Customs. Covers the take-up of the creative industries' tax reliefs including video games tax relief.


Beyond Brexit: trade in services
House of Lords select committee report on the future UK-EU relationship on trade in services. Considers the crucial elements in the TCA affecting trade in services between the UK and the EU, together with areas where further agreement is required. Sectors covered: financial services; professional and business services; data and digital trade; the creative industries; research and education. Published 24 March 2021

The creative industries sector and the EU
Guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for the creative sector on working with the EU from 1 January 2021. Areas covered include employees, data, visiting Europe, services, movement of goods, EU funding and recruiting from outside the UK.

UK business guides

The Library can supply business guides on this sector to ICAEW members and students.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further resources

Toys, games and gaming industry guide: British Library
British Library industry guides provide listings of resources for industry-specific information, including print directories and materials held by the British Library.

Contact the British Library Business and IP Centre for more information.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.
Can't find what you're looking for?

The ICAEW Library can give you the right information from trustworthy, professional sources that aren't freely available online. Contact us for expert help with your enquiries and research.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this Business & Industry Guide is correct. However, the content of websites changes frequently and users should satisfy themselves that the information they contain is suitable for the purposes for which they wish to use it. We would be grateful to receive notification of any broken links at library@icaew.com.


ICAEW accepts no responsibility for the content on any site to which a hypertext link from this site exists. The links are provided ‘as is’ with no warranty, express or implied, for the information provided within them. Please see the full copyright and disclaimer notice.

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