Scottish government claims game industry does not exist
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 15:09
A report on the Scottish economy has concluded that the country’s video game industry is virtually non-existent.
Specifically, the report claims that the national video game industry employs only 200 workers that there are no students with game-related industry studies and that the industry’s monetary value to the country is exactly zero.
Now, this would be a very disturbing sign of the state of video game development in the country, if it were even the slightest bit true.
However, Scotland is home to a town called Edinburgh. Edinburgh, in turn, is home to a studio called Rockstar North, the creators and developers of a little series known as “Grand Theft Auto.” If you’re not familiar with Grand Theft Auto, you should probably know that it’s one of the largest and bestselling video game franchises of all time. The studio also houses, all by itself, well over 200 employees.
According to Scottish video game website scottishgames.net, along with Rockstar North, there are over 120 different video-game-related studios in Scotland including Ruffian Studios which, while definitely not as successful as Rockstar, is at the very least a recognizable studio having developed “Crackdown 2” in 2010.
Furthermore, Scotland also plays host to the University of Abertay Dundee, which has its own computer games technology specialization.
So, the economic report provided by DC Research is simply a harmless, laughable mistake, right?
The economic report was actually commissioned by the governmental organizations Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprises. This means that the report could inform governmental policy. That means that the video game industry in Scotland could suffer from budgetary and policy restraints that otherwise wouldn’t have affected an industry thought to be providing a noticeable impact on the country’s economy.
“The problem is that this is an official report created by two Scottish government organizations which oversee the cultural and enterprise elements of the Scottish economy,” scottishgames.net wrote. “Moving forward policy decisions, funding allocations etc. will all be made based on the information in this document.”
The article continues by saying, “If ‘computer games’ is seen as small, insignificant and of little economic value then the sector will be treated as such. As it stands in this report, computer games is only creative industry – of sixteen – which creates no value. It is shown as having less direct employment (200) than music (400), cultural education (400) or visual art (800) or photography (900).”
One of the reasons for these gross miscalculations seems to be the misidentification of several companies, either by themselves or by the government, which the report openly admits is a possibility. The report was based on data from 2010, a time before the video game industry had its own Standard Industrial Classification.
One positive point that came out of the report is that it shows video games to be the fastest growing industry in Scotland between 1971 and 2010, even at the incredibly small number of 200 employees in the latter year. That’s an employment rate growth of nine percent in the sector. The actual number is likely much, much higher than that.