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Spending on video games soars throughout 2020



Data from Barclays Games and Esports released earlier this week reveals that the games sector has seen one of the largest increases in spending in 2020, with an increase of 43 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, 11 per cent higher than the increase in entertainment streaming services (music, video and books, 32 per cent) and fourteen percent higher than general retail (29 per cent)1.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to increased revenues in the already growing sector, with video game spend surging during the first UK lockdown when there was an unprecedented increase in consumers spending on in-home entertainments, compared to a 51 per cent decline in out-of-home entertainment spend. Whilst spending dropped as the first lockdown eased, it remained up year-on-year for the majority of 2020.

The data also revealed that on average customers made more purchases throughout the year, with the average number of transactions per customer rising by 21 per cent. In addition, there was also a rise in customer base, as the total number of customers spending on video games increased by 20 per cent year-on-year. While customers spent more in total, the average value per transaction was slightly lower (2 per cent) in 2020, pointing towards smaller, more frequent purchases and payments.

David Gowans, Head of Games and Esports at Barclays, said: “Due to its at home nature, the video games industry has continued to thrive over the last year for large and small developers alike, due to strong demand from consumers. Games have certainly provided much needed entertainment for many and helped people stay connected during this difficult time.

“We’re committed to helping both smaller and large games businesses meet their growth ambitions, whether that’s support with funding, or through insights from our specialist team, who are based across the UK.

“The boost in the sector is welcome news for the economy as we look to bounce back from the pandemic, drive job creation and generate regional growth.”

To help support the continued growth of the sector, Barclays was the first high street bank to offer tax credit loans to video game producers, allowing them to receive advance funds against future tax credits from HMRC, improving their cash flow, and helping to make the UK one of the most attractive countries in the world for video game producers to invest.

Additionally, Barclays is sponsoring the annual Ukie Hub Crawl, a 12-week long series of free virtual webinars for business in the games industry, which will aim to cover the entire life cycle of a games business; from incorporation and growing a team to pitching to funders and getting PR exposure, as well as the National Students Esports (NSE) Innovation Challenge – a games development competition where students from across the country can test their skills and creativity.

To find out more about Barclays Games and Esports, the Ukie Hub Crawl 2021, or the NSE Innovation Challenge, visit

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What is the best internet security tip you have ever been given?



Friend giving a digital tip to another friend

From those working from home over the past year, to companies and those sporadically using the internet to communicate with family and friends, no one has escaped avid hackers in recent years. They have been busier than ever. In fact, a recent report by Beaming, an independent Internet Service Provider for businesses across the UK, revealed that in the first three months of 2021 firms were hit by over 172,000 attacks. These findings are as scary as they sound. Every day companies are having to survive 1912 attacks – with one intrusion attempt being carried out every 45 seconds in the United Kingdom.

The interest in breaching the online security of people and companies isn’t a new idea. Commercial organizations have suffered an 11% increase in cyber-attacks during the first months of 2021, with higher educational institutions across the UK and Europe also being the target of an increasing number of cyber-attacks in recent months.

As we all need to use digital devices and the internet, be it connecting to clients and family, or simply paying a bill, we need to know the answer to the question: How can we avoid the increasing risk of using technology?

Here, entrepreneurs and security experts share the best internet security tip they’ve ever been given – and the answers can make a big difference for you, and your business, too.


Don’t reuse old passwords

“The best internet security tip someone ever gave me is: do not reuse old passwords! Usually, I try to update all my password info – so my accounts are secure. However, I often catch myself reusing an old password. If one of my accounts gets breached, chances are that a different account of mine with the same old password might get breached too. That’s why I never have the same password for two accounts!

Having this on my mind, I force myself to think of new and stronger passwords that will keep my accounts safer. Regularly updating my passwords and creating new ones is what helps to keep all my data safe and secure.
David Morneau – CEO at SEO marketing agency


Don’t only rely on free software

“It seems simple, but the best online security tip I’ve been given was from my father when I was in my teens. It has made a huge difference: do not rely on the built in Windows firewall that comes as standard.

Always download a free version of AVG or Norton – or pay a fairly cheap yearly cost. The amount of viruses, phishing attacks and malware that’ll be picked up by these (and not Windows) is staggering.”

Alan Monaghan – Founder of soundproofing tutorials website


Avoid public WiFi for sensitive browsing

“The internet can be a haven for some, but it can also put others at risk if not used cautiously. As a founder, the best internet security tip I received is not using public WiFi when browsing websites that require personal information. You’ll never know; someone might be collecting your data from the public WiFi and use it without your knowledge.”

Chris Muktar – Founder at

Mobile phone with padlock


Always use two-factor authentication

“As a website founder, the internet can be a viable source of information. That being said, it can also put our information at risk. The best internet security tip I have received is using two-factor authentication. It gives extra protection to the person who owns the account because there is another step to confirm the individual logging in is the authorized person. It prevents the hacker from invading an account. Even if they know the username and password, this alerts the authorized person that there is an attempt to login, and they can act right away to protect their account.
April Maccario – Founder at relationship advice website


Have more than one email

“Have more than one email. Specifically, to have an email that I can put out there in the open, which, if compromised, won’t be putting me at great risk. This email is, of course, different from the one I use for my bank transactions and the like.”
Ted Liu – Founder at SEO agency


Never use the same password for everything
“One of the best tips I can give is to not use the same password for every account. Also, be sure to include numbers and various symbols like an exclamation mark or an @ sign. While it may seem easier to remember your password by using a common word or phrase, it makes it much easier for a cyber attacker to figure out your password and steal your information. Passwords should also be updated regularly, and you should use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Then, even if a hacker does obtain your password, they likely won’t be able to get in without the second factor of authentication, like a pin being sent to your phone.
Cindy Murphy – President of Digital Forensics at cybersecurity firm


Easy to remember, easier to be stolen

“One piece of advice that helped me a lot with internet security is to never use passwords that have some kind of meaning and are easy to remember. Instead, get used to using a password management software and create strong, hard to crack passwords.”
Mikkel Andreassen – Customer Experience Manager at customer service software firm





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More European countries get Pinterest’ skin tone range feature



Pinterest phone screen
Skin tone ranges is a Pinterest-exclusive feature that allows Pinners to refine their beauty-related searches based on a set of skin tone ranges

American image sharing and social media service Pinterest has announced the expansion of its skin tone range feature to several additional countries. Besides India, Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, in Europe, additional countries include France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Netherlands.

Skin tone ranges is a Pinterest-exclusive feature that allows Pinners to refine their beauty-related searches based on a set of skin tone ranges. Applying this filter updates your search results to show content that is similar to the skin tone range you’ve selected.

One of the biggest digital platforms in the world, where millions of people search for fresh beauty ideas each month, Pinterest had more than 80 million users searching for beauty ideas over the past month, according to the digital platform launched in 20210.

Over the past year Pinterest has seen the number of people using the skin tone range feature to discover beauty ideas on the platform increase five-fold.

Tyi McCray, Pinterest Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity, says:

“Our mission is to inspire everyone to create a life they love. With that in mind, building a globally inclusive platform where you can see yourself represented is a top priority for us. We want all of our Pinners around the world to discover ideas that feel personalised, relevant and reflective of who they are. Expanding skin tone ranges to additional countries around the world will help to surface ideas that speak to everyone and drive positive change.”

Augmented reality – As we celebrate International Women’s Month, Pinterest continues to highlight its inclusive inspiration on the Today tab and on the home feed throughout March. The company ‘s focus on building inclusive products, includes integrating Try On, a tool using AR technology to enable users to see similar lip shades and eye shadow on skin tones that match their own.

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Virtual club night to take over London historic events venue during Easter 2021



DJ rehearsing before event
Tobacco Dock has partnered with virtual live event platform Sansar

Award-winning events venue Tobacco Dock has partnered with virtual live event platform Sansar to turn the venue, a Grade I listed warehouse in East London, into the UK’s first hybrid clubbing space.

The idea is to help bridge the gap between in person and online events by creating an immersive virtual reality platform, Tobacco Dock Virtual, that will cater to a global audience.

“Live events and face-to-face experiences are vital for businesses and for London as a thriving business hub. However, by creating a virtual venue we offer the best of both worlds – in person and virtual – where online users can experience being at an event in real time by engaging with presentations, interacting with products, accessing content and networking with other attendees. While we wait to come together at live events in the next couple of months, Tobacco Dock Virtual acts as an alternative venue to help break the barriers between face-to-face and online meeting experiences. The next phase of events will see the physical and virtual running simultaneously and across a wide range of devices, meaning our venue is accessible to a truly global audience. As we’ve seen the business event landscape adapt and prepare to re-open in London, we believe Tobacco Dock Virtual will allow more individuals and businesses to engage in powerful, immersive experiences blurring the edges between the real life and the virtual.” – says Jonny Read, Commercial Director at Tobacco Dock London.

To kickstart the pioneering partnership, a diverse lineup including some of the biggest names in clubland, alongside exciting rising talent, has been announced for the Tobacco Dock Virtual opening weekend, which is free-to-attend across all platforms and devices. Taking place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd April 2021, the two-day Easter Weekend features over 40 artists playing across four arenas at the immersive, virtual venue, including Swedish techno producer and DJ Adam Beyer, British DJs Wilkinson, Hot Since 82, Mollie Collins, Patrick Topping and Daniel Pearce – a.k.a Eats Everything – amongst other entertainers.

Available on mobile, MAC, tablet, PC, or VR through the Sansar app or any browser – without need for specialist equipment, not only do hybrid events allow for people to join virtually no matter their geographic location or timezone, but it also gives access to those who missed out on tickets or who may have been priced out economically. Those who may suffer from anxiety in public spaces will benefit from an outlet to enjoy clubbing, whilst remaining in the comfort of familiar surroundings.

Live-stream and media partner Beatport will also broadcast sets across Facebook, Youtube, Twitch and, replicating the social experience as closely as possible and enabling partygoers to meet and catch up with friends, throw shapes on the dancefloor and explore the venue together. Adding to the shared experience, a range of games and quests can also be enjoyed, including custom avatars, quests and challenges.

To find out more about hybrid events at Tobacco Dock and to get tickets, visit:

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