Scottish Video Games Industry Dominated by Small Studios Focused on Mobile and Tablet Games Development

By September 10, 2015Press Releases

TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, published new data today which shows that the Scottish video games industry is dominated by small studios focused on mobile and tablet games development.

TIGA’s research shows that:

  • 91 per cent of Scottish studios examined by TIGA had 14 or fewer members of staff compared to 79 per cent of UK wide studios (including Scottish studios);
  • Just 3 per cent of Scottish studios employ more than 50 people compared to 11 per cent of UK studios (including Scottish studios);
  • 56 per cent of Scottish studios are primarily focused on mobile and tablet gaming, while the comparable figure for the UK industry as a whole is 48 per cent.
  • At the end of 2014, Scotland had 1,050 permanent and full-time equivalent creative staff working on games development in 97 companies. This represents 11.1 per cent of the UK’s total games companies and 9.7 per cent of the UK’s total developer headcount.

The Scottish video games industry seems to focus on mobile and tablet games development more than the rest of the UK overall. The budgets required for mobile and tablet games development are relatively modest and the teams smaller in size in comparison to PC and console development. The Scottish games industry with its large constituency of small firms is therefore naturally inclined to focus on mobile and tablet platforms.

 Barriers to entry into mobile and tablet development are low and competition is correspondingly intense. For example, there are 1,866,359 active apps on the App Store. It is difficult to succeed in this market without investment and publisher backing to ensure successful discoverability.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

“Scotland has many exciting, growing and successful studios and games companies including 4J Studios, Blazing Griffin Games, Codeplay, deltaDNA, Firebrand, Kobojo, Ninja Kiwi Europe, Outplay, Tag, Ruffian, Speech Graphics and Rockstar. The Scottish video games industry has grown in recent years, partly as a result of a surge in start-ups focused on mobile and tablet games development. The challenge now is to reduce the failure rate of games companies – 30 per cent of all UK games businesses have closed down over the last five years – and to encourage the growth of more durable studios with more staff that are capable of handling larger projects.

“Public policy towards the video games industry should be focused on improving access to finance, enhancing commercial skills (including marketing and PR), exploiting export opportunities and developing regional games clusters. Additionally, the UK and Scottish Governments should encourage Scottish games businesses to take advantage of existing measures including Games Tax Relief, R&D Tax Credits and services provided by organisations such as Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Creative Skillset and Innovate UK.

“The Scottish and UK video games industries provide high skilled jobs in an export focused sector. Developing this successful industry is important not just for the games sector, but for the creative industries in general and for the UK and Scottish economies.” 

Grant Alexander, Commercial Director, Beartrap Games, said:

“Our ambition as an industry should be to build more large, competitive and world leading studios. This means focusing on improving access to finance, strengthening commercial skills within the sector and ensuring that studios take full advantage of schemes such as Games Tax Relief and R&D Tax Credits.”

Chris Stamp, Studio Director at Kobojo, added:

“In addition to the public policy measures advocated by TIGA, discoverability is a crucial issue for studios in the mobile and tablet domain. Even if a studio gets everything else right – funding, a great new IP, accomplished execution – without a way of getting their game noticed amongst the hundreds released every day they will still struggle.

“More games are launched every day now than were launched in a whole year before the barriers to entry were removed with mobile. This has created a very different but equally daunting challenge for small studios wanting successfully to publish a game.”


About TIGA

TIGA isthe network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry. Since 2010, TIGA has won 24 business awards and commendations and has been successfully accredited as an Investors in People organisation three times. TIGA focuses on three sets of activities:

  • Political representation
  • Media representation
  • Business services

This enhances the competitiveness of our members by providing benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities. It also means our members’ voices are heard in the corridors of power and positively represented in national, broadcast and UK video games trade media.

Get in touch:

Tel: 0845 468 2330





For further information, you can also contact:  Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on: 07875 939 643, or email:


On the intensity of competition in the video games industry, see: