Collaborative Post

Despite its small size, Scotland’s video game industry has built a global reputation with several global hits.


Home of iconic video game franchises

Controversial or adored, Grand Theft Auto (GTA) remains one of the most popular video games ever made. The fifth instalment of the franchise, produced by Rockstar North, was released in September 2013 and has sold more than 40 million copies, generating around two billion dollars. Set in the fictional American city of Los Santos, the subversive action game was nevertheless mostly developed in Scotland, in Edinburgh, just like the previous instalments of the franchise. “More than half of gamers, whether Scottish or American, think the game was developed in the US,” laughs Matthew Barr, a professor at the University of Glasgow. While waiting for GTA6, discover new slots selection 2021 at Games such as Worms, Tomb Raider and of course Little Big Planet were developed in Scotland. The Scottish video game industry has a heritage and reputation that dates back to the 1980s. The release of the ZX Spectrum, a small computer partly created in Dundee in the 1980s, was an inspiration to many young people with a passion for computer programming. It is on the foundations of this technical legacy that the Scottish video game industry was formed. This reputation, reinforced by the success of several “made in Scotland” video game productions, has attracted gamers and creative people.

A sector that educates and creates jobs

Scotland is one of the biggest European online game hubs. For several years now, three Scottish universities have been offering courses related to video game development. Graduates from these courses end up in a sector that provides many jobs in Scotland, including 200 for Rockstar North. “With five million inhabitants, we are a small country, but video games are becoming an increasingly important part of the creative industries,” says Brian Baglow, director of the Scottish Games Network, a body founded in 2004 that defends the interests of studios and developers. In November 2020, 1,803 permanent and full-time equivalent creative staff worked on games development in 96 companies. The sector also supported a further 3,296 indirect jobs. The situation of the video game industry is pleasing but not idyllic. As a result of lobbying, tax breaks have been obtained, but certain entities do not consider this sector as an art and a scientific discipline in its own right.  It will also be necessary to overcome the centralism of the cultural industries that are aggregating in London and resist possible relocations to remain in this very competitive and constantly evolving market.  Nevertheless, the market is doing well because it is growing thanks to foreign investments by large technology companies that allow the studios to expand.