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Scottish Video Games Industry to be ‘Mapped’ Through New Innovator Grant

David Paul

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Video games industry

Industry expert Brian Baglow will carry out new research into the composition and strength of the country’s games ecosystem.

A new grant has been awarded to carry out a comprehensive mapping of Scotland’s thriving video games industry- the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

The Scottish Games Network has been awarded the Connected Innovators grant to carry out the research, which will involve ‘mapping’ the entire games sector across Scotland.

The aim is to develop a better understanding of the country’s games sector, to help make more informed decisions about its future and find new ways to support it.

As part of the research, every participant involved in designing, developing, publishing, distributing, teaching, broadcasting, or supporting the games and interactive industries in Scotland will be surveyed, as well as the games being released.

Scotland has a global reputation as a pioneer in the video games industry. The University of Abertay hosts the world’s first video games degree, and it regularly rated as the best place to study games in Europe.

Some of the biggest names in the global gaming industry, including Rockstar North and 4J Studios, are also homegrown firms which still call Scotland home.

However, there are concerns that the broader Scottish games ecosystem is poorly understood and isolated from the country’s creative industries and burgeoning tech sector.

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Founder and director of the Scottish Games Network, Brian Baglow, commented that the sector is evolving incredibly quickly.

“More people than ever are now playing games. Alongside the major consoles, more and more gaming is mobile, casual, social and online,” he said.

“Esports has finally hit Scotland, with a growing number of players, teams and organisations now competing, while ‘applied games’ are bringing tools, technologies, and techniques from gaming to areas such as education, healthcare, fintech and tourism.

“Despite this, we’ve no hard data on the size or the composition of the contemporary games sector. Outside the major studios, there is not a lot of visibility on the number of companies, the work they are doing, or the games they are releasing.

Baglow added: “We do not know how many freelancers work in the sector, or how the industry interacts with other areas of Scotland’s tech sectors or creative industries.

“This leaves us making guesses about how the sector is performing, and acting on incomplete, or non-existent, information.

“This research will offer a snapshot of the games sector across the whole country, from academia to industry. It will provide a baseline, so we can start making more informed decisions about the future of the industry in Scotland and how best to support the whole ecosystem.”

ATTRIBUTION

The Scottish Games Network says it is now looking for participants from across the video games industry to be part of the research.

Anyone from the sector is welcome, including:

  • Game developers (full-time, part-time or hobbyist)
  • Technology companies working in, or supporting the games sector
  • Software, design & digital companies which have created games, or interactive entertainment products
  • Esports teams and players
  • Twitch and YouTube streamers focusing on games
  • Freelancers who work in or support companies involved in the games sector
  • University and colleges offering games-related courses

Briana Pegado, Executive Director of Creative Edinburgh said: “Connected Innovators is a wonderful opportunity for us to elevate and support people working in the creative industries that are having a truly positive impact on their communities.

“This funding gives them time out of their workplace or daily practice to truly develop their ideas with expertise that allows them to explore the possibilities of innovation.

“These projects will contribute to the future of our society – by helping us better understand our role in it and highlighting the importance of the creative industries in the development of humanity, a climate positive future, a more inclusive future, and a more data literate future.”

Pegado: “It is through knowledge sharing and coming together through our community at this time of need that opens up a plethora of routes of exploration for a more positive future.

“These projects exemplify how creatives are always thinking about members of our community who are marginalised or struggle with barriers to accessing data and the digital world.

“We can not only build back better, but we can truly lead the way together.”

The results of the research will be released in the first quarter of 2021 and will be open-sourced to make it available to all interested parties.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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