The Scottish Government has this afternoon stepped forward to defend its national games industry.
The move comes in response to a report that surfaced yesterday, that many believe misrepresented the worth of the Scottish games industry. Commission by creative industries network Creative Scotland, the ‘Arts and Creative Industries Economic Impact’ study most sensationally claimed that the video games sector in the country has a gross value add of £0 (allowing for rounding).
The Scottish Government, while bringing to question the accuracy of the figures in the report, has also defended the study’s own recognition of the validity of its data.
"This study itself acknowledges upfront that the computer games sector data is anomalous," said a Scottish Government spokesperson. "Official Scottish Government statistics (SABS) value the Computer Games, Software and Electronic Publishing sectors in 2010 at just over £1bn GVA – representing about a third of the creative industries sector in Scotland.
Furthermore, the Government is now looking to commission its own report into the country’s games industry.
"We are aware of the need for more detailed and robust information about the value of the computer games sector to the Scottish economy. This is something we are currently working on, in collaboration with industry and agency partners including TIGA."
Companies creating computer games in Scotland are not necessarily registered for VAT, or registered in a way which causes their output to be included within a different sector, which the Government believes may be the root cause of the statistical anomalies, both specifically in the Creative Scotland report, and in more general recognition of the the value of the computer games sector to the Scottish economy.
Brian Baglow of Scottishgames.net, who yesterday provided Develop with a detailed analysis of the Creative Scotland report, has made his own statement in response to the Governments comments.
"This is not an end point," wrote Baglow. "It’s an opportunity to ensure that evaluating the scope, the definition and the value of the games and interactive sector in Scotland is carried out more intelligently. It gives us an excellent platform to move forward and to ensure that the Scottish government, the cultural and enterprise agencies and the other 20-plus organisations here in Scotland start to communicate more effectively and perhaps work towards some common goals when it comes to ‘computer games’."
Baglow also called for a collective effort on behalf of Scotland’s creative industries to improve the process of making information available and communicating externally.
Creative Scotland also today issued a response to criticism of its report.