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Choose Your Weapons: 5 Things Office Property Needs To Know About The Booming Gaming Sector

London Office

Gaming is increasingly big business. Yet it’s still a bit-part player in the office property market.

That will change, research by CBRE said.

Driven by new franchises, low barriers to entry meaning lots of competitive startups, new games for your phone and increasing cross-media integration, gaming will become a reliable and expanding part of the office market. 

Choose your weapon, lock onto your target, and aim for the next level. This is what you need to know. 

1. It's speeding up

Gaming designers and providers accounted for a modest 272K SF of office take-up in the UK in 2021. CBRE reckons take-up will remain at around these levels to deliver 1M SF over the next five years. This represents a distinct speeding-up of a market that absorbed an average of 140K SF in the last decade, roughly half of it in London.

2. It's spreading out

Whilst London dominates, gaming clusters have sprung up all over the place as operators hunt out the talent they need to fuel their growth plans. Leeds, the south east of England, Edinburgh and Manchester all do well but don’t forget localised concentrations in Dundee, Horsham, North Kesteven in Lincolnshire, Guildford and Royal Leamington Spa. Manchester’s stockbroker belt in Cheshire, south Cambridgeshire and Westminster also attract interest.

These are not normal tech business: Surveys reveal proximity to universities and transport infrastructure doesn’t matter much to gaming businesses, but talent, clusters and proximity to their market matters a lot.

3. They like it quirky

In contrast to some other sectors, gaming companies do not necessarily seek accommodation in the most prominent, amenity-enabled grade-A office buildings. Some quite like to stay anonymous (it keeps the addict fan base off their backs) and aren’t fussy on building type. They can be found in a wide variety of spaces from character buildings, to warehouses, manufacturing plants or even old airplane hangars.

Companies will pick from a range of spaces to suit their own culture and circumstances and shape the design and support services to promote employee productivity, team engagement and collaboration, alongside health and wellbeing, CBRE said.

4. Desks aren’t everything

Gaming businesses need desk space, of course they do, but they also need a lot more. Requirements include bespoke studio facilities for games development incorporating both dedicated individual and team space, audio rooms, play/test rooms and outlier spaces such as motion capture studios. 

Because the world of gaming changes so fast, flexibility is important. Today’s restroom is tomorrow’s studio, or meeting room or expansion space.

5. Other sectors will grow as gaming grows

Growth in the gaming sector will also trigger additional growth across supporting ecosystems, CBRE predicted. This ranges from data centres to esports arenas.  Gaming platforms are also set to provide the building blocks of the emerging metaverse, which could further accelerate organic growth and M&A activity across the sector.