We Brits love playing games. In 2020, around 36 million of us enjoyed this hobby in some form. That’s equivalent to 54% of the entire UK population. When you look at adults aged under 24, that percentage rises to 88, showing just how in-demand this modern form of entertainment is with this demographic.
This demand translates to a lot of money. According to the BBC, spending on video games grew to £7.16 billion in 2021, a rise of 2% on the already record highs in 2020.
So it is clear that we love consuming gaming content here in Blighty. But did you know that we’re also really good at making it?
Yes, this tiny island that’s sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and continental Europe is actually a dominant force in the gaming industry. So much so, some of the best and most interesting titles were conceived here.
Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto is a video game series that requires no introduction. Its latest instalment, GTA V, is the second-best selling title of all time, shifting more than 169 million units. It’s behind only Minecraft, a game that’s several years older, available on more platforms, requires less-powerful hardware, and is targeted at a much broader audience.
It would be easy to assume that Grand Theft Auto is a product of the United States of America, after all, all of the games in the series (except for two early expansion packs) have been set in fictional American cities.
Yet, GTA is actually a product of Scotland. The original game was developed by a Scottish team at DMA Designs, a video game studio that later became Rockstar North when it was absorbed into Take-Two Interactive.
Even today, it’s this UK-based studio that leads on the development of Grand Theft Auto while the company’s studio in Leeds has been responsible for mobile games like GTA Vice City Stories and GTA Chinatown Wars.
Roulette is another game that almost everyone is familiar with. It uses a distinctive red and black wheel that contains individually-numbered pockets and a ball. The variant dictates how many numbers are on a roulette wheel, for example, European versions use 37 while American wheels contain one more.
Most players will be familiar with these two options and anyone who has studied the game in detail will understand the relationship between the number of pockets on the wheel and the house edge.
The original game was invented in France but it quickly made its way across the world, including to here in Britain.
A few centuries later, British casino owners created their own variant of the game that really shook things up. During the 1960s, the country’s highest court ruled that these popular games could not have a house edge, so casino owners up and down the land quickly developed new wheels that did away with the green 0 pocket, leaving only red and black options.
It’s a fascinating novelty to play roulette without this pocket but, sadly, you will have to search high and low to find one today.
James Bond is one of the most iconic British exports. The famous fictional spy is known for his witty one-liners, smart suits, unusual drinks, and ability to save the world on an almost daily basis.
007 is one of Britain’s biggest and best cultural exports, so what better place to develop a James Bond video game than right here in his home country?
In 1997, that’s exactly what happened. GoldenEye 007 was created by Rare, a studio based in Twycross, Wales. Until it was acquired by Microsoft, the company developed a lot of Nintendo games, including this legendary Bond title.
GoldenEye 007 was revolutionary at the time, pushing the boundaries of what was technically possible at the time. It’s still loved by many players today, which is why there is a lot of excitement around the recent announcement that the game is being remastered for Xbox Series S/X and Nintendo Switch.