Employment in Scotland’s videogame sector fell 18 per cent during 2010, according to new data.
UK game association Tiga has published the new figures with a clear warning for Whitehall – action needs to be taken or investment in the country could fall.
“If games tax relief was introduced the sector could expect to grow,” said the group. “If the UK Coalition Government sat on its hands and did nothing, investment and employment in the sector could decline.”
The report comes in the aftermath of one of the game industry’s most high-profile studio collapses of recent times. Dundee outfit Realtime Worlds went into administration last month after lacklustre sales of its costly MMO, All Points Bulletin. Over 150 jobs were lost in the process.
Tiga’s new report says that Scotland boasts 46 businesses related to game development, providing employment for 650 people. The group goes on to claim that games tax relief measures – if enacted – could secure some 270 jobs on the sector over five years.
“The Scottish video games industry is export oriented, R&D focussed and provides high skilled employment – this is exactly the kind of sector that we need to invest in as part of a process to rebalance the UK economy,” said Tiga CEO Richard Wilson.
“Tiga’s new research shows that the Scottish games industry contributes almost £67 million to UK Gross Domestic Product, employs 650 highly skilled developers in 46 games development businesses. This is a critically important digital industry which, with the right Government support, can be world beating.”
Colin Anderson, a Tiga board member and the managing director at Dundee studio Denki, said the government’s move to scrap game tax breaks means Scotland “will find it harder than other areas to attract the talent and investment”.
Denki itself recently had to make dramatic cuts in its workforce, from 25 to six staff, after struggling to find a publisher for its promising title Quarrel.