Report States Videogame Industry Practically Doesn’t Exist in Scotland, Drama Ensues

Two Scottish government organisations have filed a report regarding the videogame industry in their country. Widely regarded as inaccurate, the report received much criticism resulting in the government releasing a statement in response.

The report, released in June, stated that there were roughly two-hundred employed in the videogame industry, with a gross value of zero. Whilst the industry does gross an income, the value is less than £10 million, resulting in the number being rounded down.

Essentially, this describes a near non-existant industry, something that is completely untrue. In particular, Scotland is famous in the industry for birthing the Grand Theft Auto franchise — one of the biggest game franchises. Many speculate that this may be the result of some videogame companies being included in the software/eletronic publishing industry, which contains moretahn 19, 100 employed individuals, and a £940 million gross value.

The studies took place in 2010, leading to the report being two years outdated. This does not equate to the largely missing figures, however, as even Rockstar North has over two-hundred employees alone. And that’s forgetting the many smaller companies.

Whilst this may appear to mean very little, this report can have a significant impact on the industry in the country at a large, resulting in it being treated as inconsequential. Especially when the report is most definitely inaccurate.

Meanwhile, TIGA confirms that the report is indeed inaccurate. Their own studies, carried out in 2011, paint a different picture. In just one year, the Scottish videogame industry has apparently grown to a 668 employed ; £30 million gross value industry.

To help the government understand that their report is inaccurate, Brian Baglow of ScottishGames wrote an article on the report, breaking it down, before giving advice. He said, “What do we do now?  We – the games industry as a whole, not Tiga, not UKIE, not Dundee – need to speak, collectively to the research companies and to the organisations which commissioned the report. We need to gather and provide more accurate information and data to all of these organisations.”

Brian’s article spread like wildfire on the internet, making its way into various sectors including mainstream media sites such as Eurogamer.

After just a few hours of controversy, the government finally responded. “We are aware of the need for more detailed and robust information about the value of the computer games sector to the Scottish economy.” The announcement continues to add, “This is something we are currently working on, in collaboration with industry and agency partners.”

The situation seems to have been resolved, but videogame developers should make information more readily available for such surveys to ensure that this does not repeat. Fortunately, the industry appears to carry on unaffected, at least negatively, by the report.

Videogame reviewer and student videogame developer, located in Scotland. Founder of the Gaming Advance blog.

Can be reached at the email address: CrashScreen@GamingAdvance.com.

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  • Vague Raconteur

    That report is such rubbish. Scotland’s always been the hub of something for the UK. A couple of centuries ago, it was medicine. Now, obviously far more importantly, it’s video games. It’s a great industry, and one that the way the whole of the UK develops, doesn’t require a huge budget to input for a great return considering the sheer amount of indie works produced here. Now you’ll have more idiots claiming gaming is pointless, due to the misinterpretation and misinformation of this report.

    • CrashScreen

      Yeah, the big problem was how the industry would be treated as a result of an inaccurate report. One solution that many Scottish developers have decided to take advantage of is adding a two second “Developed in Scotland” scene before their trailers begin. Something I might also do with my own work.