Here's how important video games are to the UK's economy

Emma Haslett
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Video gamers might look like they're slumping in front of the telly, prodding at buttons in a zombie-like fashion - but it turns out they're just doing their bit for the economy.

That's according to figures from UK games industry body Tiga, anyway, which has found the UK's video games sector grew to record levels in 2016. In fact, in the year to March, it contributed nearly £1.25bn to UK GDP - up from £1.1bn last year.

This chart, put together for City A.M. by Statista, gives some suggestion of how much the sector has grown in the past year.

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According to the figures, the UK's sector - which includes developers such as Rockstar North, the company behind Grand Theft Auto, and Sega Europe - contributed £514m to the Treasury in direct and indirect tax revenues.

“The industry’s growth over the last year has been driven by three factors," said Richard Wilson, chief executive of Tiga.

"Firstly, the games market is buoyant, with new opportunities continuing to arise in mobile, PC gaming, console and VR and AR, which have combined to stimulate investment and job creation.

"Secondly, start-ups have increased in number while existing medium and larger studios have expanded.

“Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Games Tax Relief is powering growth... Over the three years before GTR was announced, the UK’s development headcount experienced an average annual growth rate of minus 3.6 per cent. Over the four years after the announcement, the average annual growth rate was plus 7.1 per cent."

So next time you spend a few hours gaming, it won't just be Princess Zelda you're saving. It'll be UK growth...