Home Features Why Scotland is the place to be for games developers
Scotland now has 3rd largest cluster of games developers in UK
It was recently reported that the global gaming industry was valued at £4.33bn, with a rise expected every year until at least 2021. The global environment for gaming is showing how lucrative the industry is.
The Scottish games industry saw a particularly steep rise and now has the 3rd largest cluster of games developers in the UK. 9.8% of the developer headcount is based in Scotland, and the buzz is expected to continue. Indeed, GTA V was developed in Edinburgh and smashed sales records in its first 24 hours. Scotland is angling itself as a gaming goliath.
Mobile gaming has been on a steady rise since the introduction of social media. Research indicates that both figures are rising in tandem. There are roughly 20million monthly mobile gamers, with 6million of them playing daily. The scope for games developers has therefore shifted both in terms of platform and in terms of their gameplay offering. A good example is Pokémon Go, which attracted millions of players in 2016. Pokémon Go was unique because it utilised the player’s direct environment to allow them to hunt Pokémon.
Similarly, another arm of gaming – casino – has experienced growth recently. 2016 stats show that online play is the largest gambling sector in Britain, a development that offers further opportunities for games developers. 33% of all gambling in the UK is done through online gaming and 43% of Scots reportedly gambled in 2015 – excluding the National Lottery, which ups the stat to 65%.
Indeed, online gaming doesn’t just appeal to those traditionally thought of as casino-goers. The UK casino sites like Mr Smith are seeing an increased following as brands incorporate live dealers. For example, features games with human croupiers on webcam, a development that allows for some social interaction between players and dealer. Casinos now also offer franchised content that appeals to fans. For example, the Ted game allows fans of the film to connect with their interests in a way they may otherwise not.
No discussion on gaming can be complete without a mention of console gaming. The PLAY Expo: Glasgow showcased the future of video gaming, including segments devoted to virtual reality (VR) gaming, which looks to be where advancements in console gaming will come from. Utilising the technology provides a greater experience for the gamer but also requires more involvement from software and hardware teams.
Scotland headquarters a fair few games giants, yet admits that skills shortages are impeding further development. The need for more skilled games developers in Scotland is a testament to the sharp rise in the sector in the area.
The gaming industry – especially in Scotland – is one that will likely not be affected negatively as it continues its climb to the top – and businesses should take note of what a profitable sector it is. From the growing possibilities technology offers to the adaptable and viral aspects of mobile gaming, each aspect of gaming offers different benefits, which should be taken heed of.
When creating anything, a number of other sectors that can grow from it (finance, marketing, business management, property) will also benefit, so games in Scotland can definitely provide a boost to the local economy and help put Scotland on the map as the place to go for gaming.