Scottish Video Games Industry Soars by 26 per cent, says industry trade body TIGA

TIGA, the network for video games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the UK video games industry, today released new data showing that employment in the Scottish video games development industry grew 26 per cent between April 2020 and December 2021.  Scotland is the fourth largest games cluster in the UK (after London, the South East and the North West). TIGA’s research is based on an extensive survey of UK games businesses, with analysis by Games Investor Consulting.

TIGA’s research shows that as of December 2021:

  • Scotland has 2,269 permanent and full-time equivalent creative staff working on games development in 147 discrete, verified and active games development companies. This is up from 96 companies employing 1,803 staff in April 2020. The 26 per cent increase in employment in the Scottish games industry compares to a 25 per cent increase for the UK video games sector as a whole;
  • The growth in Scottish games development companies from 96 to 147 represents a 53 per cent increase, compared to a 41 per cent increase for the UK industry in its entirety;
  • Scotland is home to 7.9 per cent of the UK’s total games companies and 10.8 per cent of its developer headcount (the comparable figures as of April 2020 were 7.3 per cent and 10.7 per cent, respectively);
  • Scotland’s games development sector supports an additional 4,148 indirect jobs (up from 3,296 in April 2020);
  • Annually, Scottish games development companies are estimated to invest £141 million in salaries and overheads, contribute £129 million in direct and indirect tax revenues to HM Treasury, and make a direct and indirect contribution of £312 million to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:

“Employment in the Scottish video games industry grew by a colossal 26 per cent between April 2020 and December 2021, while company formation soared by 53 per cent.

“Scotland represents the fourth largest games cluster in the UK. Scotland has a mass of experienced games developers; universities preparing skilled graduates for the games industry, including TIGA Accredited courses at Abertay University and the University of the West of Scotland; and a supportive infrastructure that includes Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland. The UK Games Fund is also based in Dundee.

“Growth in the Scottish games industry can be perpetuated by enhancing Video Games Tax Relief to reduce the cost of games development; introducing a Video Games Investment Fund to improve access to finance, and further strengthening industry-university links to enhance skills and innovation.”

Professor Gregor White, Dean of Design and Informatics at Abertay University said:

“This is fantastic news for the Scottish games sector. We’ve been conscious of industry growth in scale and value since 2020 and have seen some significant investment from multinationals with Unity, Rockstar and Epic establishing new offices across Scotland.

“The prosperity of the Scottish sector is fantastic for graduates for Abertay’s world-leading games courses with demand for graduates particularly high and the current environment has seen an increasing number of graduate startup studios in Dundee.  InGAME, the AHRC centre for games research and development, has added a vital piece of innovation infrastructure and its impact is reflected in the accelerated growth of several homegrown studios. I’m looking forward to continued prosperity in the sector as it continues to innovate, diversify and grow.”


Notes to editors

Research methodology

Games Investor Consulting in conjunction with TIGA and its partners conducted surveys concluding in July 2008, September 2010, November 2011, December 2012, December 2013, December 2014, March 2016, November 2017, November 2018, April 2020 and December 2021 of all known British games companies involved in the creation of games (including developers, publishers, publisher studios, service companies and broadcasters with games divisions). Assessments of every database entry are made on a company-by-company basis with strict vetting and verification rules to ensure each entry is discrete (to prevent duplication via subsidiary or parent companies) and confirmed to be active in games development. The survey counts staff working in development and development support roles in games studios, games publishers and development service companies. A broad array of additional data is also captured including studio location, primary platform focus and company ownership structure as well as company start-ups and exits/closures.

Games development

Games development is defined as including all production staff, QA, support, localisation and technical staff but excludes admin, finance, sales, marketing and commercial staff not directly involved with games production. Full-time equivalent staff comprise multiple part-time staff aggregated based on typical usage throughout a year to represent a single full-time employee.

About TIGA

TIGA is the trade association for the UK video games industry.  Since 2010, TIGA has won 28 business awards and commendations and has been successfully accredited as an Investors in People organisation four times. Our vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to develop video games. Our core purpose is to strengthen the games development and digital publishing sector. To this end, we focus on four strategic objectives:

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