Scotland's video games industry is a success story that we must build on – Scotsman comment

Microsoft’s purchase of video game company Activision Blizzard in a deal worth more than £50 billion demonstrates just how economically important the sector has become.

Candy Crush is a favourite form of entertainment for many commuters on public transport (Picture: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Candy Crush is a favourite form of entertainment for many commuters on public transport (Picture: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Activision Blizzard, which is responsible for games such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft, may have been swallowed whole by Microsoft but it is a global giant in its own right, creating highly paid, skilled jobs for vast numbers of people.

It is a long time since gaming was the preserve of teenage boys with many adults finding entertainment in this way, perhaps particularly on their phones during the daily commute, and it is increasingly becoming part of our everyday culture. For example, the ‘floss’ dance craze took off in large part because it appeared in the 2017 video game Fortnite Battle Royale.

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So it seems this is an industry which is only set to expand, and that is good news for Scotland, given the large number of gaming companies here. There are now over 420 firms in the sector, while Scotland's universities offer more than 175 gaming-related courses, three of which are ranked in the top 200 in the world, according to Scottish Development International.

The trick will be to create the right conditions to further build on what is already a considerable success story, a task that should involve close collaboration between the industry, the Scottish government and the relevant universities.

Whether or not we are, as a nation, any good at “cheesing” a “bullet sponge” is uncertain. However it would appear that Scotland is good at gaming in an economically valuable way and, given the potential rewards, we should play to our strengths.

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