Majority of 8 to 18-year-olds say gaming is their favourite hobby, Barclays survey finds as bank pledges support to UK games industry

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62% of young people aged between 8 and 18 say video gaming is their favourite hobby.

Barclays Business Banking surveyed 2,003 people in that age range as part of a study into the UK’s gaming culture, plus the bank announced support to the industry by offering tax credit loans to video game makers. This will give developers advance funds against future tax credits from HMRC.

The survey also found that 54% of respondents believe video games are more fun than the real world, while 68% would choose a career in gaming over becoming a lawyer, and 58% over being a doctor or nurse.

56% would rather work in the games industry than be a professional athlete.

The research also discovered more than half of young adults (55%) prefer to play video games than watch TV, Netflix or Amazon Prime, and two thirds (68%) prefer it to reading.

Barclays said in a press release that the survey – conducted by Censuswide this month – shows how the popularity of video gaming among Gen Z will impact their career choices, potentially leading to skills shortages in more traditional professions.

More than two thirds of respondents watch their friends or professional gamers play video games on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.

Barclays has begun supporting some esports business/networking events in the UK. It recently held a Barclays Game Technology Frenzy earlier this month at its HQ in Canary Wharf, London, featuring networking, an expo, esports tournament showcase and talks from people in the industry.

Barclays says it’s backing small businesses with a package of support including a £14.2bn dedicated lending fund ‘to help SMEs to succeed and flourish’.

Gavin Smith, Relationship Director for Tech and Media at Barclays Business Banking, commented: “It’s encouraging to see more young people have the ambition to work in the video game sector, with the skills required to help the UK maintain its position as a gaming hub. Britain’s gaming ecosystem is thriving, already employing nearly 50,000 people across the development, creation and publishing of some of the world’s most exciting games.

“The government has introduced tax credits for producers to encourage them to create and publish their games in the UK, and our loan acts as an advance on these credits, helping with vital cash flow in the early stages of a games development.”

Gavin Smith, Barclays

Julia Cwierz, the UK’s first recipient of Roehampton’s esports scholarship, also spoke about the growth of esports. She said: “It’s going to create more jobs, with lawyers required to help professionals with contracts and media rights. I hope to find a position at a law firm specialising in esports, and to become an expert in this relatively nascent field.

“There are plenty of other opportunities for passionate gamers to explore careers in the wider sector and so far, I have found it to be a friendly, collaborative industry eager to help the next generation turn their hobby into a career.”

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