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Gaming sector in Scotland needs UK-wide network to thrive, report warns

The report called for a UK-wide video games network (Tim Ireland/PA)
The report called for a UK-wide video games network (Tim Ireland/PA)

The Scottish video games industry needs a UK-wide network in order to thrive, according to a report from Gordon Brown’s think tank.

The Our Scottish Future paper warns the sector in Scotland risks being left behind in a market dominated by large international developers.

The Grand Theft Auto franchise was created by the Scottish gaming sector, while Dundee-based 4J Studios developed the console version of Minecraft.

The paper says the Scottish Government should make computer science a core part of the curriculum, increase the number of computing places at universities and expand funding for start-up companies.

It also says the UK and Scottish governments should work to build a new UK-wide network, connecting firms and students with each other.

The paper’s author Ruairidh Macintosh said: “In the face of such stiff global competition, the best plan would be one that seized the advantages Scotland’s games industry gets from the social and economic connections of the United Kingdom.

“From finance, skills, and connections with England’s own world-class games industry as well as other leading hi-tech creative industries such as film and TV, the UK offers opportunities to make the most of Scottish talent and creativity.

“Alone, the risk is that historically successful clusters in Edinburgh and Dundee cannot keep up with ever stronger clusters in America, Japan, China and Europe.

“By combining Scottish imagination with the ideas, resources and connections of the UK, we have the best chance to stay competitive in the long-term.”

Sean Taylor, director of the InGAME research centre at Abertay University in Dundee, said: “I am delighted to see the ongoing impact and growth potential of the Scottish video games sector highlighted in this report.

“A collaborative, co-operative approach presents the opportunity for Scotland to create a competitive advantage within the world’s biggest entertainment industry and beyond.”

Responding to the report, an SNP spokesman said: “This is the same tired old nonsense from Gordon Brown, who claims that Scotland is incapable of anything without Westminster – and it’s frankly insulting to argue that an international industry anchored on the web requires Scotland to rely on Westminster control.

“Scotland’s success as a gaming industry hub is in no small part because we are an attractive place to invest and do business, with a skilled workforce.

“Gordon Brown wants to keep Scotland restrained under Westminster control, outside of the EU market which is around seven times bigger than the UK.”