Developing computer games and off-the-shelf software

An overview of the computer games and software industries


The UK market for video games reached £7.05 billion in 2022, a reduction of 5.6% on the previous year. Ukie's annual games market valuation shows software revenue increased to £4.57 billion, an increase of 0.4% in comparison to 2021.

Within this varied industry, there are many different sectors of potential interest to business. These include:

To exploit business opportunities effectively, it is important you have a sound knowledge of different platforms - the architecture and framework which allows the software to run - and cross-platform development.

Cross-platform development involves the creation of a single program that operates on different computer architecture and operating systems.

You should also have a good understanding of:

  • Proprietary software - software developed by a supplier and made available to users under a licence eg off-the-shelf software packages.
  • Open source software - software made available under a licence that allows the licensee to make copies and pass them on to another individual. This gives you access to the source code, allowing you to develop and tailor the software to your own business requirements.

Read about the advantages of open source software for business.

For information on software licensing, see intellectual property in games and software.

Starting a video games business

There are a number of areas you need to consider when starting up a business in the video games and software industry. It's a good idea to ask:

  • What is the unique selling point of your business?
  • What are your strengths and specialities?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Where will you/your product fit into the industry?
  • What partnerships can/should you create and maintain?
  • What professional advice do you need?

Find guides to help you with starting a business.

For facts, stats and other useful information about the UK and global games industry, visit Ukiepedia.