When you look at the landscape of gaming in the UK, it can be hard to get a good feel for where the country’s gaming population like to be. After all, the UK is a massively diverse country and geographically, it’s quite uniquely populated. Many people might think, especially those who aren’t native to the UK, that the biggest hubs for gamers and creatives would be in the UK’s big cities. Well, it turns out that this isn’t actually the case. If you’re in the gaming industry, or just want to know where to move to be around more gamers, read on. This post will be looking at the top ten UK cities for gamers. There might be some places in here that surprise you.
New research commissioned by SolitaireBliss has revealed the top ten UK cities for gamers. The study was conducted against four main criteria. These were average download speed, gaming stores in the local area, local gaming culture, which was determined by local gaming events and companies per 100,000, and gaming job opportunities per 100,000 people within a ten-mile radius.
The top ten UK cities for gamers
It turns out that the top three UK cities for gamers to live and work in are, in fact, Cambridge, Wakefield and Brighton, with the latter being deemed to have the best gaming culture in the whole country. Let’s look at the findings in a bit more detail. With gaming being a huge industry that the UK contributes to massively, it’s interesting to look at where the opportunities for budding game developers and creators may actually be. Below is a table of the completed data and the factors used to analyse the findings.
|Rank||City||Download Speed Rank||Gaming Stores Rank||Gaming Culture Rank||Gaming Jobs Rank|
|5||Kingston Upon Hull||1||48||40||60|
According to the data analysed in the new research, the city of Cambridge has been named the best UK city for gamers. It has the ninth highest average download speed, 98.95 Mbit(s), 35% higher than the national average. However, it scored the best overall, with it ranking highly (but not highest) for gaming culture and employment. The city has 52.46 gaming companies per 100,000 people, the second-highest in the nation behind Brighton.
In terms of gaming culture, Cambridge ranked as having the third strongest and third highest number of local gaming events per 100,000 people. In terms of gaming job opportunities, the city also ranks third with 126.72 gaming job opportunities per 100,000 people. This is the third-highest in the UK after Wakefield and Salford, respectively.
Cambridge’s high download speeds and breadth of culture and opportunities have led to it coming out on top overall. Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from SolitaireBliss said “Cambridge made the top spot as it scored well across the board, with its residents receiving high download speeds and a rich local gaming culture thanks to its reputation and history as a centre of innovation for computing, which draws talent and companies alike to the city.” They also added that “other cities in the UK could learn from Cambridge, who shows that gaming is not only just a hobby, but also a global digital industry that is growing each year.”
Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, has the best gaming job opportunities in the UK. Despite this, the city came in second place in the list of best UK cities for gamers. This is because of its rank when it comes to gaming culture. It seems that although the city has the best employment opportunities, with 333.5 gaming jobs per 100,000 people, the highest in the UK by far, Wakefield does not have any local gaming events. The city could easily bag the top spot with a stronger local gaming culture.
In addition to this, Wakefield could really benefit from having faster download speeds, which are currently on par with the national average. Perhaps an issue that boils down to the ongoing north-south divide of resources and connectivity in the UK. Mind you, that’s another point entirely.
Taking third place on the list is Brighton. The south coastal earned itself the third spot city due to having the best gaming culture in the UK. Additionally, it has the highest number of gaming companies compared to its population, and over four times as many gaming events per 100,000 people than London has.
Brighton’s gaming job opportunities could do with some work though. At present, the city ranks 24th for these, which is a surprise given its thriving games culture. Another thing that could boost Brighton’s rankings would be an improvement in broadband download speeds. Despite having current average speeds of 83.92 Mbit(s), (which is 14% higher than the national average), a further improvement to this could see it move up the leaderboard.
The rest of the best UK cities for gamers
Outside of the top three, the list continues to look interesting. Some of the cities included in the best UK cities for gamers are ones that perhaps wouldn’t immediately spring to mind when you think about the gaming industry. Let’s take a look at the findings for the rest of the top ten.
#4 St. Albans
Located in the commuter belt north of London, the city of St. Albans is home to ancient Roman walls, an ancient Roman theatre and apparently, gamers. The city ranks highly across the board, with average download speeds 40% faster than the national average, nine local gaming stores and 31.65 gaming companies and 122.95 gaming jobs per 100,000 people.
St Albans also benefits from its close proximity to London and has 26 local gaming companies, which unlocks greater opportunities to work in gaming, making it the fourth-best city for gaming jobs. St. Albans could rank higher by hosting local gaming events, of which there were none recorded at the time.
#5 Kingston Upon Hull
The jewel of East Yorkshire is the city of Kingston-Upon Hull (its Sunday name). Hull comes in at fifth place on this list and is perhaps one of the more surprising entries in a list of best UK cities for gamers. Hull, in fact, has the fastest download speeds in the nation, 180 Mbit(s), 146% higher than the national average. This is down to the fact that interestingly, for historical reasons, the Hull area has no BT landlines, and the vast majority of residents and most businesses in Hull, Cottingham and Beverley are served only with telecoms services by KCOM.
Unfortunately, that’s where the high rankings end, as Hull measured very poorly for every other criterion, causing it to miss out on a higher spot. Local gaming culture, jobs and stores all were far below other UK cities. Gaming job opportunities in particular ranked low, which placed Kingston upon Hull only two places from the last spot for that category.
That cathedral city of Lichfield in Staffordshire is ranked as the sixth-best city for gamers in the UK. In terms of download speeds, Lichfield has the second fastest internet in the UK, an average of 129.62 Mbit(s), 77% faster than the national average. However, the higher download speeds don’t match up that well with the job and cultural opportunities for gamers.
Lichfield only has the fifth-best gaming employment opportunities, with 118.29 gaming jobs per 100,000 people. It ranks 35th for the number of local gaming companies, with 11.83 gaming companies per 100,000 people. Additionally, Lichfield has zero gaming events nearby, ranking its gaming culture below average in comparison to other UK cities.
The only Scottish entry into the list is Dundee, where gamers enjoy above-average download speeds, at 98.63 Mbit(s), which is 34% higher than the national average. It has a high number of local gaming stores, a solid gaming culture and a high number of gaming jobs, with the city having 22.56 gaming companies per 100,000 people, the ninth highest in the UK.
Culturally, Dundee is second only to Brighton, with 12.69 gaming events per 100,000 people. As the only city in Scotland to make it into the top ten UK cities for gamers, Dundee is officially the best city in Scotland for gamers to live and work in.
Bath comes in eighth place on the list, as while it scores highly in terms of gaming job opportunities and the local gaming culture, it’s let down somewhat by slow download speeds. The city has the slowest download speeds out of the top ten, 72.71 Mbit(s), ranking 33rd for this criteria. Local gaming companies and high opportunities for employment in gaming still make Bath a great city to live in if you are a gamer. There are currently 28.57 gaming companies per 100,000 people in the area, and 101.2 gaming jobs available per 100,000 people in the area, the sixth and seventh highest in the UK, respectively.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that England’s capital city would feature higher up the top ten, but this isn’t the case. London is actually ranked the ninth-best UK city for gamers. This is due to the fact that gaming job opportunities per 100,000 people aren’t as high as in other cities. Currently, it ranks 25th for job opportunities compared to its population, just behind Brighton. This is despite the fact that the city actually has the third most gaming companies per 100,000 people.
However, London does score much more highly in terms of gaming culture. Perhaps unsurprisingly, its strong presence as a gaming events hub, hosting the most out of any UK city by far, gives London the fourth-best gaming culture in the UK. In addition, London-based gamers enjoy download speeds that are 27% faster than the national average.
Last into the top ten is the city of Portsmouth. Whilst the south coastal port city and naval base enjoys average download speeds that are 74% faster than the rest of the UK. at 127.44 Mbit(s), the city lags behind massively in terms of gaming culture. According to the data, Portsmouth also lacks enough gaming companies to provide job opportunities, and there aren’t as many gaming events or stores to help improve the city’s overall gaming culture score in comparison with the other entries into the top ten.
Are these really the best UK cities for gamers?
Do you agree with these new findings? It’s fair to say that some of the research has proved to be surprising. Especially when you consider that England’s capital city only comes in at number 9. If you know of a UK city or town that isn’t listed here that has a strong gaming culture with job opportunities, let me know in the comments.
There are probably a number of potential additions to this list, but it’s a very interesting starting point if nothing else. The northwest cities of Manchester and Liverpool surprisingly don’t feature here. Likewise, the northeast has also been pretty much overlooked. This is somewhat interesting given the thriving digital and creative sector in the city of Newcastle and to a lesser extent, in the Teesside town of Middlesbrough.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or as always, you can catch up with me over on Twitter to share your comments. Also if you’ve found this post interesting, feel free to give it a share. For more on gaming, check out this post on awesome open-world games and this post on how to get into the games industry as a beginner.