UK games trade body Ukie has released a new report with FTI Consulting putting a numerical value on gaming technology’s economic contribution towards other unrelated sectors, which the companies define as "spillover technology".
Instances of spillover technology - where games tech finds new applications in often unexpected places - include film and TV, healthcare, and automation. Essentially, any case where an unconnected industry has leveraged gaming innovations to enhance its own productions and operations is part of the count. And in 2021, the total value added to the UK economy through spillover technology totalled £1.3 billion.
This money would not have been generated in the UK economy without gaming technology, the report claims, and is approximate to the country’s entire timber and forestry industry, its cycling industry, and its aluminium production industry.
The biggest benefits
According to the report, gaming tech spilt over into information technology, energy extraction and business services the most. Gaming tech has also spilt into healthcare with major innovations through game engines and VR; these have advanced patient care potential and in the next two years, it is expected that healthcare services will be one of the biggest industries for virtual reality - using the tech to practice treatment, surgery and more on realistic simulations.
Naturally, TV and films are also benefiting from game engines, replacing the need for on-location filming with virtual environments and thereby reducing production costs relating to travel, construction and permits. An increasing number of productions have moved on from green screens and are now using so called 'virtual production' techniques: LED giant backdrops run game engines in real-time during filming, improving immersion for the actors while automatically enhancing lighting and colours caught on camera due to these photorealistic backgrounds. Pinewood Studios is among the production houses leveraging this technology, based in Slough.
Oxford’s famous Ashmolean Museum has even utilised gaming technology for educational purposes, providing a virtual tour of Knossos Palace in partnership with Ubisoft this summer.
"These report findings demonstrate the part video game technology has played in many ground-breaking technological innovations outside of the games sector. From increasing innovation, improving product designs, to enhancing consumers’ experiences, video games technology is driving technological development across different sectors," said Ukie co-CEO Dan Wood.
"This report provides the strongest evidence yet, that the video games industry is a driver of significant value across the UK economy."
After the UK government's recent Autumn Statement was unveiled, TIGA has explained what exactly this means for the country's video game industry going forward.
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