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How Will Brexit Impact Gaming?



Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

For the past few years since the UK decided to leave the European Union there has been a permanent state of confusion. What will leaving mean for legislation, our everyday lives and also the multiple industries likely to be affected?

One of the industries that many people haven’t really considered the Brexit effects of is the gaming industry. Like many industries which rely on exporting, talent and investment, the gaming industry is likely to be impacted by Brexit too.

The UK is One of the EU’s Biggest Consumer Of Games

One of the first things to note is that the UK is one of the EU’s biggest consumers of games and technology.

While many people no longer rely on physical copies of games anymore, plenty still do. That’s not the only thing to consider either, the computer hardware and console industry is a massive part of gaming and relies on smooth importing and exporting processes between the UK and the EU.

Without knowing exactly what will happen in trade agreements between the UK and the EU, many manufacturers and consumers have been understandably worried about how this will affect the industry.

If the price of exporting goods to the UK becomes too expensive, it could dissuade retailers from trading here, or more likely, the cost will drastically increase for consumers to cover the increase in export fees.

Business Unease

One key way that Brexit has already affected businesses is with general business unease. Even before any agreements were arranged, businesses were already moving offices and company headquarters to the likes of Ireland and Germany to protect themselves.

Others have simply avoided investing in the UK, having no guarantee what the economy or how any industries would be affected by the time the UK officially left the European Union.

In terms of the gaming industry specifically, studios such as Rockstar, EA and Activision have UK-based studios. The worry is that some of them will feel the need to relocate if staying in the UK is untenable.

Hardware Prices

We’ve touched on this a bit above, but hardware prices are probably the main concern for consumers right now. A lot of PC parts are imported from Europe including all the best CPUs, GPUs and motherboards.

If tariffs on these exports to the UK increase, the retailers and manufacturers are unlikely to swallow the extra costs themselves. They will simply increase the price of hardware which has a direct effect on customers who are aiming to build their next gaming PC.

It could be a real possibility in the future that those searching for the best graphics card for gaming or the best motherboard online will find the prices have hiked up significantly. If hardware becomes too expensive, many of us are going to have to get used to outdated parts. With fewer sales from the UK, this could have a significant effect on the industry as a whole and manufacturer sales.

Brain Drain

Another way Brexit could impact the gaming industry is in what’s referred to as the “brain drain”. A lot of people have already highlighted that medical, scientific and technology fields could suffer from a widespread drain of talent to Europe and beyond.

Many capable and talented programmers and developers have already expressed interest in pursuing more lucrative and promising career paths outside of the UK. Europe is also looking like a much more attractive possibility as the UK is due to lose EU funding in certain scientific and technology fields.

This could lead to a worrying lack of developmental talent within the UK, which could in turn affect the studios’ abilities to hire the very best. If game studios struggle to recruit developers from the UK, perhaps moving their offices to Europe will in fact be more attractive to them in the future.

Uncertainty in the Gaming Industry

Of course, even now, things are still largely uncertain in regards to Brexit. Not all of the above will necessarily happen, or happen in the way that people are expecting.

However, there are some very real concerns about the negative effects on the gaming industry and many other industries from what we have seen so far.

We can only hope that these concerns prove not to be true, but until then, caution is expected for those who work in the gaming industry and the consumers who rely on them for all their gaming needs.


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