Gaming and the Monarchy – the UK’s esports market
Despite not being one of the biggest countries in the top ten of biggest esports markets, the UK has the 6th biggest esports market in the entire world – with over $4.5Billion in game revenue in 2018, this spot is well-earned and more than deserved by the more than 37 million players in the country.
Generally speaking, mobile games are the most popular, with very nearly half the population playing them – 49% of men and 48% of women regularly play video games on their mobile devices. The next-most popular medium is PC, with 38% of men and 26% of women playing games on PC, and ‘only’ 33% of men and 22% of women playing them.
Of all of these avid gamers, two thirds spent money on in-game items or virtual goods in the last six months – that’s a relatively high number compared to other countries, and it is a big part of why the UK has such a huge esports market to begin with. Although initially there was little government support, the British have since changed their mind and funds are made available to the overall money-pool.
Similarly, the popularity of things like Twitch and similar streamer services also contributes to the money circulated in the industry – roughly a third of gamers regularly watches streamed video game content. The most regularly watched game in the UK is a little unusual – while titles like Dota 2 or LoL might be what you expect, the honour actually goes to Rocket League!
Despite this, games like League of Legends still have a strong presence in the United Kingdom (they even have their UK League Championship), and the game dev and research market is alive and well too – there is an astounding number of indie developers and small gaming studios in the country. On the other end of the scale, ESL UK just dedicated a staggering $4 million to a VR Research & Development project.
Generally speaking, another popular thing in the UK is football – soccer, if you are American. The sport is incredibly popular, and by association, so are games like FIFA and associated esports leagues like the newly amended FIFA 19 League. The League itself isn’t new, but it’s association with the Football Association is – the FA just signed the very first ever official esports team. They called it a ‘historic’ partnership between themselves and the ESL, and it really is – the connection between esports and traditional sports is nothing new, but every time it happens, it further cements the fact that esports are here to stay.
This is also true for UK esports teams – several huge names such as Fnatic, Prophecy and Team Dignitas are based here or at least launched here, and pro players across various different games, franchises and, ultimately, continents! With a positive trend in the UK, the esports market is expected to continue to grow, if not quite as quickly or explosively as it did and continues to do in countries like China, India and Korea.