The video games sector in Wales needs bespoke support and incentives, including talent development for recent graduates, structured mentorship for nascent companies and targeted growth support for established companies, according to a new report produced by the University of South Wales (USW).
The Clwstwr Games Survey Wales 2021 report is part of a five-year programme that aims to put innovation at the core of media production in south Wales. It is the first detailed, systematic mapping of the sector in Wales, highlighting the skills challenges and training needs of the industry, outlining the training and post-16 education provision and identifying major talent initiatives aimed at developing games in Wales and across the UK. It also explores funding streams that support innovation in video games, and identifies the main challenges for the industry.
With more players than ever before (2.9 billion in 2021) and the global games market expected to reach $200 billion by 2023, the report makes a series of recommendations to help the sector to reach its growth potential.
- Ensuring appropriate initiatives are in place to support start-up companies, with structured mentorship for small businesses and targeted growth support for those who are more established
- A plan to drive improvement in the sector’s uptake of business support, ensuring that information is championed within the community and available support is fit for purpose
- The introduction of Higher or Degree Apprenticeships for games development or games art being offered in Wales, enabling Further Education, Higher Education and industry to build accessible career routes in the region
- The Welsh Government needing to assess the benefit of using video games as part of its Cymraeg 2050 Welsh Language Strategy, taking into account the significant opportunities of Welsh culture, mythology, history and language to a global export market
- Improved digital infrastructure across Wales, including broadband speed and access, to help support content development for hybrid and remote working.
The report was produced by Richard Hurford, Course Leader for the MA Games Enterprise at USW and Co-Investigator for Clwstwr, with Professor Ruth McElroy, Head of Creative Industries research at USW and Co-Director of Clwstwr. Their research was conducted alongside the Screen Survey Wales 2021 and Screen Work 2020 reports, which give insight to the film and TV sector across Wales.
“This report provides a platform to highlight the impact of the games sector in Wales and to continue the work to support talent development. Industry and public sector organisations need to invest in better skills provision to support a sustainable Welsh video games sector and to capitalise on the rapidly growing demand for games skills across the whole of the screen sector, including areas such as virtual production. Establishing sustainable growth in the community is crucial to helping create a successful, robust industry, and with the right support and training in place, the future looks bright.”
Paul Osbaldeston, Creative Wales Sector Development Manager and Digital Lead, added:
“Creative Wales welcomes this report which gives us detailed information about the games industry. This data will be very useful in our plans to support skills and talent development, business growth and the wider potential for games technology to impact a range of sectors, from film and TV to health and education. Creative Wales views the games industry as strategically important and it is one of our four priority sectors.”
To read the full Clwstwr Games Survey Wales 2021 report, visit https://clwstwr.org.uk/publications