Scots video game sector dominated by mobile studios

New industry research has shown that Scotland’s video game sector is dominated by small studios focused on developing titles for smartphones and tablets.

Mobile developers like Beartrap dominate the Scottish games scene
Mobile developers like Beartrap dominate the Scottish games scene

The study, by trade body Tiga, found 91 per cent of Scottish studios had 14 or fewer staff members, compared with the UK average of 79 per cent.

While 48 per cent of UK firms are primarily focused on mobile and tablet gaming, that figure stands at 56 per cent north of the Border.

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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.

Tiga chief executive Richard Wilson said: “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.”

Grant Alexander, commercial director at Dundee-based Beartrap Games, creator of the Sky Patrol mobile game, 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.”