Scotland is one of the top developer locations in the world and has a reputation for being pioneering, award-winning and, quite literally, game changing.
Leading the world
Video games are an important sector of Scotland’s creative industries, which employ nearly 90,000 people and add £4.6 billion to the Scottish economy each year. Key specialisms across the games ecosystem include video game innovation; data and artificial intelligence; virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR); speech graphics; gamification in healthcare; education technology – EdTech – and microdisplays for VR. Employment in the Scottish video games industry grew by more than 17% between November 2018 and April 2020, according to industry body TIGA.
Scotland’s world-class talent base has attracted global studios and helped to build a dynamic cluster of home-grown developers and innovators. Companies in the sector include:
- Rockstar North and Rockstar Dundee – both subsidiaries of New York-based Rockstar Games and publisher of titles including Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption.
- Epic Games – the North Carolina-based developer operates Fortnite, one of the world’s largest games, and also develops the real-time 3D creation tool, Unreal Engine.
- 4J Studios – develops games including the console version of Minecraft, one of the best-selling video games of all time, from Sweden’s Mojang Studios.
- Axis Studios – an animation and visual effects specialist that creates content for global games, film and TV clients including Universal Studios, the BBC and Netflix.
- YoYo Games – runs one of the world’s most popular 2D game development engines, GameMaker, and was recently acquired by Norwegian software company Opera.
- ChilliConnect and deltaDNA – part of San Francisco-based Unity Technologies, excel at developing live ops platforms, monetising and analytics to personalise games.
- Krotos – creator of sound design software used by Hollywood and AAA game titles including Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, the Lion King, Avengers, Captain Marvel and Star Trek.
- Outplay Entertainment one of the UK’s largest independent mobile games developers.
- Hyper Luminal Games – the independent games developer behind games titles including Big Crown: Showdown.
- Stormcloud Games an award-winning games studio that creates licensed and original games for mobile, console and PC.
- Tag Games – a mobile games developer that specialises in free-to-play and premium mobile game development for iOS and Android.
- Cobra Mobile – an international games developer and publisher and creator of hit titles including Towers of Everland, iBomber and Red's Kingdom.
- No Code – a BAFTA award-winning entertainment development studio specialising in storytelling, atmosphere, and game design.
- Konglomerate Games – has designed an innovative series of games with Microsoft to help children with cystic fibrosis complete physiotherapy exercises.
- Robotical uses Marty the robot to teach electronics, robotics, coding and more to children.
- Skoogmusic is a developer of music-based assistive technology that brings coding and music to life for children, parents and teachers.
- Forth Dimension Displays designs and manufactures high-resolution near-to-eye microdisplays for military, medical and virtual reality imagers.
The range of job types in Scotland’s video games industry is wide and includes artists, animators, games designers, software developers, programmers and systems engineers. There are roles in scripting, production and project management – amongst others – and jobs in wider business functions including IT, human resources, security and finance.
Sixteen of Scotland’s 19 universities offer more than 175 computer science and gaming-related courses, three of which are from global top 200 institutions. Scotland produces 21,000 university graduates a year in IT, engineering, maths and sciences. Key academic hubs for the games sector include:
Supportive business environment
Scotland is home to a creative, well-connected and innovative gaming cluster with access to a number of supportive networks and projects such as:
- Scottish Games Network an umbrella organisation representing Scotland's video games and interactive industry.
- Scottish Game Developers Association promotes our thriving games development industry and organises regular networking sessions to exchange insights and knowledge.
- Scottish Animation Network raises the profile of all animation produced in Scotland, from graduate films to studio production.
- The Data Lab – Scotland's innovation centre for data and artificial intelligence, offers games companies access to graphics innovations to enhance the user experience.
- CodeClan is Scotland’s first accredited digital skills academy that runs acclaimed intensive coding courses.
- CodeBase, with sites in Edinburgh, Stirling and Aberdeen, is the largest technology incubator in the UK.
- CreativeScotland is the national body that funds and supports the development of Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries.
- Turing Fest, launched in Edinburgh in 2011, is one of Europe's fastest-growing cross-functional tech conferences, covering sectors including software development and data science.
- PLAY Expo Glasgow – an annual gaming event that celebrates gaming culture.
- Resonate Total Gaming – an annual celebration of gaming, software and gadgetry.
Quality of life
Beyond the office, Scotland is a land of great natural beauty and strong heritage and our warmth and generosity are world-renowned. Our friendly communities offer an exceptional quality of life, while progressive government policies strive to make Scotland an even fairer and better place to live and work for everyone.
Come to Scotland and get ahead of the game.
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