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Gamesmap: An interactive, big data map of the UK video games industry

Today we launch Gamesmap, an interactive map of the UK video games industry developed in partnership with Ukie, which builds on the Map of the UK Games industry that we published in 2014.

Gamesmap 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. Going beyond the headlines, we see this platform as an example of how data can be used to transform innovation and creative industries policy and practice.

In what sense?

1. By using web data to measure a fast moving, innovative sector

Gamesmap is built atop an engine that scrapes web data to generate a more accurate and timely picture of the UK video games industry than it is possible to obtain with traditional, official data sources that cover the sector imperfectly. Only 41% of the games companies in the map are in the official SIC codes that the government uses to measure the sector. We believe that Gamesmap will improve our understanding of the sector, and our ability to help it innovate and grow further.

Moreover, 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 – and all of this is now available in Gamesmap. 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.

2. By bringing together machines and humans to create better data

Gamesmap combines automated web-scraping and the domain knowledge of industry experts to stay up-to-date. Its data engine periodically looks for new games companies, while at the same time users (for example, developers) can submit their companies for inclusion, add additional information about what they do or correct any mistakes the robots might have made. We believe that this combination of automation and local knowledge will keep Gamesmap accurate and useful in years to come.

3. By opening up data and analysis to more stakeholders

Gamesmap opens up information about the UK games industry to wide audiences, and not just policymakers. While we believe that national policymakers have an important role to play in supporting the sector (as shown by the tax relief for the industry, and the changes in education brought about by the Next Gen Skills agenda), the decisions of many other stakeholders are also crucial – we think that better data can make those decisions smarter, and strengthen the UK games industry. 

For example, local agencies with a better understanding of their games ecosystems can support them more effectively. Investors can use Gamesmap data to identify and benchmark prospects and crucially, games developers and publishers can find each other more easily, to collaborate and trade.

We invite you to explore Gamesmap, see what you find and tell us what you think. In the coming months, we will be using the treasure trove of data that it contains to carry out innovative analyses of the UK games industry. We’ll keep you posted on what we find.

Author

Juan Mateos-Garcia

Juan Mateos-Garcia

Juan Mateos-Garcia

Head of Innovation Mapping

Juan is the head of innovation mapping at Nesta. There, he leads a team of data scientists, developers, visualisers and innovation experts working in projects using new datasets, ana...

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Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics

Hasan leads Nesta's creative and digital economy policy and research.

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