Employment in Scotland’s video games industry grew by 17% in the 18 months to April 2020, according to new data from trade organisation TIGA.
Scotland is the fourth largest games cluster in the UK after London, and the South East and the North West of England.
The TIGA research shows that Scotland has 1,803 permanent and full-time equivalent creative staff working on games development in 96 countries.
This is up from 84 companies employing 1,537 staff in November 2018.
Scotland is home to 7.3 per cent of the UK’s total games companies and 10.7 per cent of its developer headcount – the comparable figures for 2018 were 7.9 per cent and 10.7 per cent, respectively.
It also showed Scotland’s games development sector supports an additional 3,296 indirect jobs (up from 2,810 in November 2018).
Annually, Scottish games development companies are estimated to invest £106m in salaries and overheads, contribute £97m in direct and indirect tax revenues to HM Treasury, and make a direct and indirect contribution of £236m to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.
TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson OBE said: “Growth in headcount has been driven in part by inward investment by several major overseas companies, such as Epic and Unity; partly by strong growth in Scotland’s larger studios; and partly by a spate of start-ups.
“Scotland has a critical mass of experienced games developers; renowned universities preparing skilled graduates for the games industry, including TIGA Accredited Abertay University; and supportive agencies including Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland. The UK Games Fund is also based in Dundee.
“We can ensure that the environment for the Scottish games industry remains favourable for growth in three ways.
“Firstly, by enhancing Video Games Tax Relief, a measure which effectively reduce the cost of games development.
“Secondly, by introducing a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) and developing the UK Games Fund to improve access to finance.
“Thirdly, by continuing to strengthen industry-university links, enhance skills and training and enable UK games companies to recruit highly skilled workers from the EU and beyond.”
Professor Gregor White, dean of Design and Informatics at Abertay University said: “TIGA’s report showing another period of strong growth in the Scottish sector is welcome news in uncertain times.
“Recent developments in the Scottish sector reflect a period of consolidation, growth in studio size and inward investment by major technology companies.
“All of which is good news for graduates from games courses looking for entry level opportunities and strong career prospects.
“This year has seen Abertay University recognised once again, as Europe’s leading Games School by the Princeton Review and has been recognised as University of the Year for Teaching Quality by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
Young people and professionals making the decision to study and build careers in the games industry should look to do it here in Scotland.”