Insights Government publishes new guide to support research and build a better understanding of video games


The Government says that video games are played by more than half of British adults and the sector is one of the UK’s fast-growing creative industries, contributing £2.8 billion to the economy and employing 27,000 people in 2019.

To support the potential growth and development of the industry, further research is needed to fully understand players’ experiences and the impacts of games on individuals, communities and the economy more widely.

The Video Games Research Framework, developed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in collaboration with academia, research councils and the games industry, aims to support researchers to build a stronger evidence base for future policymaking.

The guide sets out several priority areas that are in need of stronger evidence to help academics and industry focus research projects. Priorities recommended by the framework include why people interact with games, their impact on physical and mental health and the effect of in-game features like spending and advertising on players’ experiences. The framework also suggests wider areas of focus, such as the economic potential of the industry and the role of video games in education.

The framework brings together guidance and examples of recommended research practices, including UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) principles on research integrity, knowledge sharing and managing conflicts of interest.

The document also provides advice and information on data sharing, as academics identified access to industry and player data as a barrier to enabling better research. It outlines researchers’ legal obligations under UK data protection laws and directs users to guidance from expert bodies such as the Information Commissioner’s Office and UKRI on how data should be collected and handled during studies.

Dan Wood, Ukie Chief Strategy Officer and co-acting CEO, said: “The establishment of a new Video Games Research Framework will provide objective, robust evidence, strengthening our understanding of the impact of video games across society. As a sector, we will never stand still on this issue and will continue to work collaboratively with government, academia, and industry partners, within the principles of the Video Games Framework to ensure any future change is driven through strong evidence.”

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said: “The Video Games Research Framework should be a valuable tool for conducting research in the video games sector. TIGA is pleased to see this framework in place and looks forward to seeing it used as a guide for advancing understanding in this dynamic and world-leading industry.” To read the Government’s press release in full and for a link to the Framework, click here.