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Gaming Culture in the UK

A brief look at how gaming culture has spread in the United Kingdom.

Gaming culture began in earnest in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s, when young people began to use home computers and consoles to explore new worlds from the comfort of their homes. However, it was when games moved online and the Internet became a central factor in everyone’s lives that gaming really took off in a big way.

Once considered the territory of ‘nerds’ with no real friends to hang out with, playing games online gradually became an acceptable, even attractive way to spend your leisure time. And today, the British online games industry is a giant of the global market. It’s widely predicted that by 2018, the sector will be worth some $113 billion to our economy.

Each month, new start-ups pop up and fresh faces leave university ready to contribute their innovative thinking and steadfast dedication to the wider gaming industry, but there’s still plenty of untapped potential out there.

So much, in fact, that the UK government recently pledged some £4 million to the industry -- money that will be used to boost employment and give new online games businesses the cash injection they need to pursue exciting prototype projects.

The industry is hopeful that the grants will go some way to helping it recreate the past successes that have earned the UK its place in the global market. Grand Theft Auto V, the most successful worldwide entertainment product ever, is a UK export. The game grossed an incredible $1 billion over a period of just three days following its release. 

In addition to the sheer quality of the games being played, there are a number of other reasons for the industry’s exponential UK growth.

Technological devices are now an essential part of everyone’s daily life, and that allows gamers to participate in the competitions they love wherever they are and at any time of day.

Additionally, the types of people taking part in online gaming has broadened. Today, the demographic is in no longer so heavily weighted towards boys in their teens. Rather, people of all ages -- male and female -- play both as individuals and as family groups.

The industry has worked hard on a global scale to bring online gaming to ever-larger numbers of people, investing in advertising that reaches audiences via the TV and online.

Communities build around online games, with people making friends and even beginning careers around playing some gambling-based games. Online casinos, in particular are currently enjoying massive popularity. For some, playing online is a crossover from real-world gambling, while for others it’s a great leisure pursuit in its own right.

In part, this boom in online gambling can be attributed to the relaxation of advertising laws which occurred some ten years ago, opening up a clear new avenue to gaming for people from all walks of life, who have come to enjoy having a roll on the roulette from the palm of their hand.

If the small businesses continue to push ahead at their current rate and the government continues to dedicate funds to online gaming, it seems likely that the industry is set for an exciting and lucrative future.

Published Aug. 24th 2016

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