Gamesmap: An interactive geography of the UK games industry


Ever stopped to think about where all your games come from? Gamesmap, just launched by Nesta and Ukie shows a UK video games sector in rude health, with 1,949 businesses, 66% of which didn’t exist before 2010, spread in games clusters across the country.


Image: The Gamesmap interactive interface.

The map draws upon a methodology established in the 2014 Nesta/Ukie report [A Map of The UK Games Industry to provide the most complete dataset of the geography of the UK games sector ever compiled.

Traditionally, industry analyses in the UK are based on data collected by the government from businesses that self–select into that industry by choosing the relevant Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code when they register at Companies House.

The Nesta/Ukir project takes a different approach. Acknowledging that these days most corporates leave an online footprint - for example, when a product is sold on an e–commerce site or reviewed by a user – they focus on scraping and mapping these big data elements.


Image: An overview of the project’s questions, measures, and online data sources.

Significantly, the team found that utilising web data actually provides a more holistic image of the industry.

“Only 41% of the games companies in the map are in the official SIC codes that the government uses to measure the sector,” they write.

“…web data contains information about how the sector is innovating with new platforms and business models in a way that’s not possible with official data… For example, it includes information about several developers who are already working with new Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality platforms across the UK, from Liverpool to London.”

Their approach recognises that no automation approach is perfect, and so the project also utilises crowdsourced data to capture details like business size and recent changes of address, as well as start-up companies that haven’t yet released a game to the market.

At launch, Gamesmap visualized data from 2,472 UK games companies, and over 110 new data submissions have since been make.

Data will be updated in real time with, including these crowdsourced contributions, allowing industry stakeholders (including policy makers, educators, investors and journalists) to track the evolution of the sector as it happens, and use the map as a tool to develop smarter strategies to support its future innovation and growth.

Explore Gamesmap here.