Toys, Games and Gaming Industry Guide

Robot, Pacman and chess

Here you will find sources of information such as market research (statistics, trends, and developments), key companies, trade magazines, newsletters, and Internet sources.

This guide will be useful to anyone starting a business within these industries and also for those wanting to further their knowledge within this area.

Start-Up Information

COBRA logo
accessible via electronic databases
The Cobra database contains practical fact-sheets on all aspects of starting, running and managing a small business – including information on writing business plans, marketing, company structures etc.

It also covers the practical aspects of how to start and run particular types of businesses – outlining necessary skills, regulations, licences and legislation etc. and highlights other sources of information and advice available.

Business Opportunity Profiles (BOP) 

Betting Shop  MBP095 
Children’s Indoor Play Area  BOP007 
Gaming Café  MBP288 
DVD and Video Game Hire  MBP198 
Handmade Toy Maker  BOP009 
Outdoor Play Equipment Retailer  MBP048 
Specialist Model Shop  MBP412 
Toy Shop  BOP337 
Video Games Shop  BOP364 

Small Business Help Books 

This is a collection of books with practical information aimed at those starting and running a business. Located in the Centre.

Break into the Game Industry by Ernest Adams (McGraw-Hill/Osbourne, 2002) [(B) SBH 794.815023 Business ]
Primarily a book on how to get a job in an existing electronic game company, but includes a great deal of useful information on the industry as a whole.

Once Upon a Game ... my precarious career as a games inventor! [(B) SBH BUS 2013 B.T.32]
Written from a personal experienced point of view with stories and anecdotes from 55 years in the game industry rather than a ‘how to’ book. Covers game ideas, development, prototyping, testing, getting to market etc.

Market Research & Statistics 

If you are planning on starting a business you will need to be aware of the latest trends, developments and opportunities within your industry which can all be found from market research.

Market research also covers market size and forecasts, consumer demographics and attitudes, the key players and products and will often include SWOT and PEST analysis showing areas of strength, weakness, opportunities etc.

IBISWorld logo

  • Computer Game Publishing in the UK
  • Computer and Gaming Product Retails in the UK
  • Video & Game Rental
  • Games and Toys Manufacturing in the UK

Mintel logo

  • Attitudes towards Video and TV
  • Mobile Gaming
  • Mobile Device Apps
  • Lifestyles of Children’s and Teens
  • Teens’ and Tweens’ Technology Usage
  • Casinos and Bingo
  • Gambling Review
  • Lotteries
  • Online Gaming and Betting
  • Video Game and Consoles
  • Toy Retailing
  • Video Game Accessories

EMIS logo

  • Toys & Gaming Research Reports

GlobalData logo

  • UK Electricals & Electronics Specialist

eMarketer logo

  • Kids and Digital 2018
  • Where do former Toy ‘R’ Us Customers Shop Now
  • Devices/Technologies of Which US Parent Internet Users Are Confident They Can Manage* Their Child's Use
  • Share of Weekly Time Spent Viewing Select Types of TV/Video Content Among Internet Users Worldwide, by Age
  • Constantly On: Teens and Social Media
  • Toys are still prevalent today

Please note that many articles about the gaming industry (from business journals and newspapers) are available from our electronic sources: eMarketer, Business Source Complete (EBSCO), Factiva, ABI Inform Global.

Business News & Journals

In order to find the latest news on your topic it is always worth searching Factiva, Business Source Complete and EMIS.

You will find articles from specialist business and academic journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. You may also find market research reports and case studies. As well as profiles of leading industry figures.

You will also find articles covering recent developments, and predicting future trends in your industry.

Trade Magazines and Newsletters

Useful for gaining inside knowledge, recent trends, industry news, company profiles, reviews of new products and services. Some contain annual reviews and company contact lists. Ordered via Explore the British Library (please ask for help).

Coinslot International (Clarion Events, fortnightly) [(P) 688.752 -E(1) (Science 2)]
A magazine for the coin-operated leisure machine industry, with a focus on gambling machines. Covers business, political and technological developments.

eGaming Review (Pageant Media, monthly) [(P) 338.4779502854678 -E(1)]
News magazine on electronic gaming with many themed issues. Mainly UK in coverage.

Gambling Insider (Players Publishing, thrice yearly) [(P) 338.4779505 - E(2)]
A news magazine on the general gambling industry, with short news stories, longer articles on business trends and legal issues, and some selected statistics.

iGaming Business (iGaming Business, bimonthly) [(P) 338.47795 -E(3)]
Magazine on international online gambling, with news and articles on regulation, technology and business developments. Some market information.
iGaming Business Affiliate (iGaming Business, bimonthly) [(P) 338.479505 - E(1)]
A magazine specifically for online gambling affiliate marketing, with news and how-to articles.

International Casino Review (Gaming Business Media, monthly) [(P) 338.47795 -E(1)]
Magazine for the casino industry, with news on construction, business, regulation and technology.

Toy News (MCV Media, monthly) [ZK.9.b.5700 (in storage, must be ordered via Integrated Catalogue)]
UK toy industry magazine with news, articles on issues, companies and toy types, and regular market information.

Toys ‘N’ Playthings (Lema Publishing, monthly) [(P) TQ13 – E(13) (Social Sciences)]
UK magazine for the toy industry includes new product and market news.


Contain lists of companies and industry contacts. Some have annual industry reviews, and specialist articles.

API Association of Play Industries Directory 2014/2015 (Association of Play Industries, 2014) [BUS DIR 796.0680284]
API is a trade body within the outdoor and indoor play equipment industry. This directory contains details of the products and services offered by its members.

Baby Products Association Yearbook 2013/14
(Baby Products Association, 2013) [BUS DIR 649.122029441]
A directory of firms offering baby products, including toys. Also includes service providers to the industry and a list of relevant standards and laws.

InterGame Yearbook (Intergame Ltd, 2014) [BUS DIR 338.4779527]
A directory focussing on the gambling game industry, with articles on industry news and trends. There is an international directory of goods and service providers, with an index by type of goods or service.

Licensing Source Book Europe (Max Publishing Ltd., 2019) [BUS DIR 346.4048]
This directory covers character and media property merchandising. It contains articles discussing current trends and recent developments, an alphabetical list of licensable properties, and directories of licensed product manufacturers and service providers to the sector. Despite the title, coverage is mainly UK-only. 2018 edition is online.
Marketplace 2017/18 (iGaming Business, 2017) [BUS DIR 795.02854678]
This directory covers the online gambling industry. As well as listing online gambling companies, and suppliers of goods and services to the industry, it contains articles discussing trends, ranking lists of companies by online visits within geographical regions, and a list of host jurisdictions.

Nursery Industry Buyers Guide & Directory 2014/2015 (Datateam Publishing) [BUS DIR 649.122]
General guide for baby products but does have a good section on toys for babies and infants, including toys by type, company details and brand names.
The official BTHA sourcebook and guide to the toy fair (British Toy and Hobby Association, 2009) [BUS DIR 338.761688722025]
The only specialised directory for the UK toy and games industry as a whole. It doubles as a guide to the BTHA’s annual trade show in London. Useful for chasing brand names and toy and game component makers. Lists manufacturers, products by type, trade names, suppliers, owners and licensors of merchandise rights, and testing laboratories.
Sourcebook: the essential guide to interactive entertainment agencies and service companies (Intent Media, 2013) [BUS DIR 338.761794802541]
Directory of companies providing services to the computer games industry, including promotion, distribution, legal advice, testing, manufacturing and game development.

Internet Sources

Websites containing free sources of industry statistics, information and contacts.

Association for UK Interactive Entertainment

Association for the computer and video games industry. Includes details about the association, accreditation and age ratings. More detailed reports are available to purchase and links to members.


The Trade Association for the pay-to-play leisure machine business in Great Britain, representing the interests of over 685 companies and 1,170 individuals. Free information on the website includes news and information on the safety-inspection of ride-on machines.

The Bingo Association

The organisation for bingo promoters in the UK. The site includes news and a calendar of events.

The British Association for Early Childhood Education

Early Education, founded in 1923, is the British Association for Early Childhood Education. It is the leading national voluntary organisation for early year’s practitioners and parents with members and branches across the UK. The website includes free news and information leaflets.

British Toy and Hobby Association

Site for the main trade body in the UK. Includes listing of members and their products. There is also a list of the main regulations concerning toy safety. The full text of information leaflets produced by the association on toy safety, advertising, toy guns and other issues is available. There is also information for toy inventors. Now includes information on the British Toy Fair industry show, which no longer has a separate site.

British Toymakers Guild

The British Toymakers Guild represents around 150 makers of traditional hand-made toys. It has various factsheets on the different types of toys made and a member’s directory that can be downloaded.


A resource for people who make and sell games.  There are some industry facts, figures and news.

Gambling Commission

The official government organisation regulating gambling in the UK. The website contains a great deal of information on types of gambling, statistics on gambling in the UK, and the legal obligations on the industry. There is also a directory of companies and individuals holding licenses to operate gambling establishments and businesses.

Harrogate International Toy and Christmas Fair

Site for the other major UK trade fair for the toy industry also held each January. Includes details of exhibitors and their products. Useful for finding suppliers of the latest toys. 

Intellectual Property Office

The game of games – IP and the British digital games industry – blog post with some insight into intellectual property for games.

National Association of Bookmakers Ltd

The NAB seeks to raise the status and prestige of bookmaking, to safeguard the rights and interests of its members while mindful of the needs of the Horseracing and Greyhound Racing industries, and to give practical help and advice to the membership both directly and through the affiliated area associations. Website has links to other related activities and news.

National Casino Industry Forum

A UK organisation for casinos. The website contains a directory of members, news, a calendar of events, a guide to casino games, positions on social issues, and information on careers in the industry.

The Puppet Centre

The Puppet Centre is a registered charity formed in 1974 to promote and further the arts of puppetry and animation in all their forms. It also services the needs of anyone interested in professional, amateur and educational puppetry.

Betting and Gaming Council

An international association for the online gambling industry. The website includes a directory of members, discussion of social issues, news, regulatory information, and a calendar of events.

Toy Industries of Europe

Site for the European toy industry. Includes brief statistics and an archive of information briefings, press releases and publications on toy industry issues.

Toy Retailers Association

Useful site containing free market information and statistics on toy sales, a brief information sheet on setting up as a retailer – with suggested reading, information on toy safety, the toy of the year listings and a full list of members.

Please note that every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however some recently acquired items may since have been added to the collection. Please ask for help at the enquiry desk or check the online catalogue Explore the British Library for more details.

Images by thewhitestdogalive, Jeffrey Errick, and mbaruzza_2 under a Creative Commons license.