12 March 2024

World-first analysis of UK-China video games industries published by researchers at Abertay University

New report provides a framework for co-operation between UK and Chinese games companies

Academics at Abertay University have unveiled a groundbreaking report that will help UK companies navigate the Chinese gaming sector and promote creative collaboration between the two industries. 

The InGAME International Pathway to Collaboration is the first comprehensive qualitative study investigating the intersection between the Chinese and UK gaming ecosystems and provides insights into market dynamics and trends. 

Produced by InGAME International, the report is a resource for games industry professionals and researchers seeking to initiate new collaborations between the two nations. It offers actionable recommendations and strategic guidance for navigating the complexities of cross-border collaboration within the gaming sector.  

Some of the recommendations include reviewing and understanding the publishing differences in China and connecting with relevant government agencies and other forms of support for British business in China, including the British Embassy in Beijing and the Department for Business and Trade. 

The report also provides insights into emerging market trends, highlighting the prominence of family-friendly and educational games in China. This trend is particularly notable due to the rigorous enforcement of censorship aimed at safeguarding minors. 

Robin Sloan, Professor of Game Design and Culture based in Abertay’s School of Design and Informatics, said:  

Our Pathway to Collaboration fills a crucial gap in our understanding of the intricacies of the UK and Chinese gaming landscapes. Throughout the project, we engaged with a diverse network of games organisations, sector agencies and academics spanning both nations, providing invaluable insights into the barriers that hinder cooperation, such as disparities in market profiles, consumption patterns, technologies, regulation, and business cultures, all of which have posed challenges for UK developers seeking to engage with the Chinese market. Building upon this firsthand knowledge as the cornerstone of the report, our objective is to provide a platform for professionals and researchers to forge collaborations that spark innovation and drive creativity within the games industry.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and led by Abertay University, the InGAME International programme began in 2020 with a primary objective to explore UK-China collaboration within the gaming sector. Industry contributors to the project include Outplay Entertainment, Beano Studios, Pocket Sized Hands, and Perfect WorThe report shows that the gaming industry is a thriving sector in both the UK and China, with China emerging as the largest gaming market globally in 2023, boasting a revenue forecast of $82.064 billion. 

In the UK, the sector has a total revenue of $7.94 billion, with Dundee established as a hub renowned for its rich history in game development and a vibrant and thriving ecosystem that has fostered the growth of numerous successful game studios over the years. 

Photo credit: Hubworld Scotland

The city is home to major companies such as 4J studios, creators of the console version of Minecraft, as well as innovative indie developers like Ninja Kiwi and Outplay Entertainment. Notably, Dundee is the birthplace of the iconic Grand Theft Auto - one of the bestselling video game series of all time. 

Abertay made history by launching the world's first video games degree in 1997 and the University's courses consistently rank among the best globally, further reinforcing Dundee's reputation as a focal point for video game innovation and creativity.

Find out more about the courses in the Division of Games and Arts.

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