Success of Scotland’s Gaming Industry

Economists and politicians tend to praise the success of Scotland’s renewables , food and drink, farming, fishing, tourism sectors etc but one of the least acknowledged is that of our gaming industry.

a switch gaming device

The number of games development studios operating in Scotland and the size of the workforce they employ grew by 10.2% and 4%, respectively, between December 2021 and April 2023, according to new figures released today by TIGA, the trade association representing the UK video games industry.

Annually, Scottish games development companies are estimated to invest £161 million in salaries and overheads, contribute £133 million in direct and indirect tax revenues to HM Treasury, and make a direct and indirect contribution of £357 million to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The number of discrete, active, verified Scottish games development companies increased from 147 to 162, compared to an 11.9% increase for the UK industry in its entirety over the same period.

Scotland has 2,338 permanent and full-time equivalent creative staff working on games development. This is up from 2,269 development staff in December 2021.

Scotland is now the fifth largest games cluster in the UK in terms of headcount (after London, the South East, the North West and the West Midlands).

The findings come from TIGA’s definitive report on the state of the UK video games industry Making Games in the UK 2023 (TIGA, 2023) which is based on an extensive survey of UK games businesses, with analysis by Games Investor Consulting.

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:

“Scotland is one of the world’s most important games development clusters. It’s home to world leading and successful studios, including Rockstar, as well as over 2,300 creative staff in 162 studios.

“It has a number of excellent universities, whose courses includes TIGA Accredited degrees from Abertay University and the University of the West of Scotland. It has one of the best funding environments supported by Scottish Enterprise and Dundee’s UK Games Fund.

“Dundee is also a centre of excellence for collaboration between academia and industry, in particular the outstanding R&D work carried out by InGAME, which is led by Abertay University, in partnership with the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews.”

From December 2021 to April 2023:

  • Scotland is home to 7.7 per cent of the UK’s total games companies and 9.8 per cent of its developer headcount.
  • Scotland’s games development sector supports an additional 4,275 indirect jobs (up from 4,148 in December 2021).

Professor Gregor White, Dean of the School of Design and Informatics at Abertay University added:

“The continued growth of the games sector in Scotland, and across the UK more widely, once again demonstrates how integral this fast-moving and ever-evolving industry has become to the digital economy, but also the need for continued R&D and innovation support at both Scottish and UK Government level, in order to keep pace with overseas competitors.

“The success of InGAME, which has catalysed an estimated £84.7m GVA for the UK economy, is an excellent example of what can be achieved through a shared games cluster ecosystem designed to bring industry and academia together.”

While London employs over 22% of the games development workforce across 587 companies, 77% of all games development staff in the UK are employed outside of the capital.

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