Number of Scottish games firms grows 600% in five years

Number of Scottish games firms grows 600% in five years
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

February 19th 2016 at 12:02PM

Two-thirds of companies have less than 50 employees

The British home of Grand Theft Auto, Scotland, has been praised for its recent ‘exceptional’ growth in games by the Scottish National Party.

The latest year where games revenue was recorded was 2013, when turnover totalled £67.6 million – a leap of nearly £30 million on the £38.1 million stat noted in 2010.

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of games companies in the region boomed by 600 per cent, rising from 15 five years ago to 100 last year.

Of those 100, 95 are registered in Scotland, including Rockstar North and Minecraft console developer 4J Studios.

Two-thirds of the companies are classified as ‘small’, meaning they have a workforce of less than 50 people. In 2010, a third of the games businesses were ‘small’.

The biggest leap in companies moving to the region was in 2013, when 25 new firms were founded.

The SNP previously helped with lobbying for video games tax relief in the UK, as well as funding 40 post-graduate spaces on a new Games Development course at the University of Abertay. It also backed the first Scottish digital skills academy, CodeClan.

“Computer games are a massive success story for Scotland and the growth since 2010, both in terms of established companies and in turnover, has been exceptional,” commented SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick.

“This is an industry that drives exports and makes a huge cultural and economic contribution to Scottish life. The SNP want to ensure that this sector continues to grow as a key part of Scotland’s creative industries.”

UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist added: “Scotland is a vital economic and cultural contributor to the UK’s games industry, and is the birthplace to the fastest selling entertainment product of all time, GTA V, as well as many other well-known titles and technologies.

“Scotland is bursting with creative talent and culture and we are pleased to see this being recognised. Further support for the digital skills academy and future games learners is also welcome, as this will secure the talent pipeline and ensure that Scotland’s games industry continues to prosper.”