Scotland’s Videogames Industry ‘Rocketing’
New research from industry body, TIGA indicates growth of 27% for Scotland’s games sector in 2016/17.
Despite producing some of the world’s biggest games (Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, Lemmings, Crackdown, etc.) Scotland’s videogames industry remains a somewhat shadowy and invisible part of the wider digital technology scene.
Many people are aware that the industry is there, but there’s little hard data or research on how it’s performing.
Thankfully, new research from games industry body, TIGA suggests that Scotland’s videogames industry is growing quite rapidly.
The latest data from the organisation suggests the games sector in Scotland grew by approximately 27% between March 2016 and November 2017, with over 4,300 people working in the sector.
According to the research, Scotland has 1,540 permanent and full-time equivalent staff working on games development in 91 companies. This number excludes all non-development staff (sales, marketing, admin, etc.) within those companies. It also excludes all of the companies not directly involved in developing videogames.
This is a rise from 1,290 staff in 85 companies recorded in 2016.
In addition, Scotland’s games sector also supports 2,814 ‘indirect jobs’ which has risen from 2,408 in 2016.
Second Fastest-Growing Cluster
This makes Scotland the second fastest-growing cluster in the UK games industry, beaten only by the North West of England, with 32% growth. Scotland remains the third largest games cluster in the UK after London and the South East.
Scottish games development companies are estimated to invest nearly £77 million annually in salaries and overheads, contribute £71 million in direct and indirect tax revenues to HM Treasury, and make a direct and indirect contribution of nearly £172 million to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
All of which paints a noticeably different picture from the 2012 report commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland, which valued the industry’s contribution to GDP at zero, with fewer than 200 people working in it.
Third Largest in the UK
TIGA CEO, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, said: “The Scottish video games industry is rocketing away. TIGA’s latest research shows that the Scottish video games industry grew by a remarkable 27% in 2016-17. The Scottish video games industry remains the third largest games cluster, after the South East and London. The Scottish games sector is diverse, with companies working in games for mobile, online, educational and console markets.
“We also need to provide start-ups and small studios with better access to finance, business advice and access to a highly skilled workforce. We should introduce a Games Investment Fund (GIF) to make grants or loans available to games businesses on a matched funding basis…
“We should also ensure that the Scottish and UK video games industries can continue to access highly skilled people from the EU and the wider world post-Brexit.”