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Video games industry is booming in the North East

The North East’s rapidly developing video games sector has been singled out for its significant contribution to the region’s overall economy in a new report.

A report titled ‘Think Global, Create Local’ by the industry body, Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie), has highlighted Newcastle as one of eight cities where gaming generates more than £60 million in gross value added (GVA) for the local economy.

According the report, the computer games industry across the whole of the North East was worth £99.9 million and supported more than 500 jobs when employment figures were last collated in 2016.

The Ukie report ranked Newcastle as the fourth biggest city for gaming, contributing £85.8 million in GVA to the local economy — the biggest contribution of any gaming sector to its regional economy outside London.

Sunderland — which is home to a number of gaming companies, including online bingo giant tombola — also received a mention for contributing £5.3 million in GVA.

The report comes after Newcastle studio Ubisoft Reflections reported a 10 per cent rise in revenues, with turnover increasing from £52.16 million to £57.26 million following a busy year of collaborations on a number of popular games.

Ukie chair, Stuart Dinsey, said: “This report demonstrates how the UK games industry’s regional strength is delivering a hugely positive economic return.

“Towns and cities of all sizes share in the high productivity jobs, commercial growth and cultural contribution that our sector offers.

“While UK games businesses are successful on the global stage, the direct benefits of their pioneering creative work are felt across the country.

“The video games industry has an important role to play in rebalancing the economy and creating skilled careers.

“We look forward to working with government and policy makers to bring the jobs of the future to local communities.”

Charlie Hoult, chair of North East IT body Dynamo, added: “It’s great this report recognises the scale of what’s happening here in our gaming sector – we’re on the map!

“Large and small companies in the established Newcastle hub, such as Ubisoft and Bede Gaming, have been joined by an emerging sector in Sunderland where companies, such as Coatsink and Tombola, are employing increasing numbers of game developers.

“We estimate there are approaching 100 regional businesses involved in the sector, and it’s important to point out these firms are supported and encouraged by local colleges and universities who are doing brilliant work in ensuring there is a sustainable talent pipeline.”