In light of this April’s BAFTA games awards, British marketplace and video game seller OnBuy.com decided to look more closely at the future of the UK gaming industry. In particular, which UK regions and cities offer the most game development-related courses, using a map by UK Interactive Entertainment (UKie) and compiling its data.
With industry figures revealing that the UK games market has hit a record target of £5.11 billion in spending in 2017, the demand for newer and more innovative games is certainly there. The market has grown by 12.4% and despite having the largest mobile games workforce in the EU (with some 5,000 full-time employees), there is a shortage of domestic talent when it comes to filling UK positions in the gaming industry.
UKie has stressed in policy paper ‘Blueprint for Growth’ the importance of encouraging HE study in gaming fields, stating “initiatives such as the DeMontfort University Innovation Centre in Leicester underline the role which academia should play in regional development. The Abertay Prototype Fund, which saw the Dundee-based university engage heavily with games SMEs, provides a further good example of this process in action.”
Outside of London, here are the top 10 cities for studying game-related courses
There are currently 59 universities across the UK offering games-related undergraduate degrees, representing 45% of all universities in the UK. As of April 2018, there were a total of 235 courses on offer for subjects such as Games Tech and Art, or even Games Business Studies. Excluding London, here are the top cities by the number of games-related courses available across universities and academic institutions:
– Southampton…………….18 courses available
– Stoke-on-Trent………… 11 courses available
– Cardiff…………………….11 courses available
– Preston……………………11 courses available
– Manchester………………..9 courses available
– Dundee…………………….7 courses available
– Nottingham……………….6 courses available
– Glasgow……………………5 courses available
– Swansea…………………..5 courses available
– Birmingham ……………….4 courses available
Southampton tops the charts for the number of gaming-related courses on offer at 18 courses. 14 of which are at the University of Southampton (including courses such as Computer Games programming and Games Design and Art) and a further 4 at Southampton Solent University.
Game-developers-to-be may also want to consider a move to Stoke-on-Trent, where there are an impressive 11 courses available, all of which you can study at Staffordshire University. Some of the courses they offer include Indie Games Development and even Games Journalism and PR.
Not to be left behind is Scotland, which has two cities in the Top 10 list: Dundee (offering 7 courses on game development) and Glasgow (5 courses). In total, there are 26 different further education courses you can take in Scotland.
Regionally speaking, the South West is the capital of courses on games-related subjects, with a total of 32 on offer. Most are available from Falmouth University and the University of Gloucester. This region is followed by the South East (28 courses, most based in Southampton), the North West (27 courses, most based in Preston) and in third place is London (also 27 courses).
Upon finishing a degree, gaming graduates should consider a move to London, where there are the most gaming companies at 630 (representing 28% of all UK games companies.)
Studying a games-related course
Jonathon Wilson, Lead Designer at Coatsink Software, studied Computer Game Design and Production at Northumbria University. While having a largely positive university experience, he stated that “there were some redundant modules, largely due to staff not having any practical experience in the subjects they were teaching.” The Lead Designer adds that this is a widespread problem with game courses in general, but that “the experience gap is getting smaller as more people from games are starting to become lecturers or provide support to course with guest talks.”
When asked if he would recommend studying a games-related course, he said he would as a way to break into the industry, but it should not be considered a one-way ticket to career success. The computer game design and production graduate advised that “just having a degree doesn’t guarantee that you will walk straight into a job. Try to be proactive outside of your degree too, engage with the dev community, attend events and network.