Creative Scotland admits to “limitations” in report on games industry

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By a Newsnet reporter

A report commissioned by Creative Scotland in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise has angered the Games Industry.  The report, which examines the contribution that the creative arts make to Scottish economy, looks at sixteen industries which it claims make up the creative sector in Scotland.  It concludes that the Computer Games Industry employs just 200 people and contributes a gross added value of £0 (when rounded down), to the economy, or 0.1% of the creative arts total.  This makes the computer games industry the least valuable of all of the creative arts.

Industry insiders pointed out that the Edinburgh based studio Rockstar North alone, employs more that 200 people and there are more than 100 other studios throughout Scotland most of which employ more than 2 people.

The report also concluded that, in 2010, there were no students in Scotland studying games-specific courses. Several thousand students were listed as studying Software Engineering and Computer Science, but there was no specific mention of specialist games courses.

The Scottish Government has acknowledged the anomalies in the report and has released the following statement.

“The study acknowledges upfront the computer games sector data is anomalous. Official Scottish Government Statistics (SABS) value the Computer Games, Software and Electronic Publishing sectors  in 2010 at just over £1bn GVA – representing about one third of the Creative Industries sector in Scotland.

“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.

“Companies producing computer games may not be registered for VAT, or registered in a way which causes their output to be included within a different sector thus leading to anomalies in reporting the value of the Computer Games Sector to the Scottish economy.”

The anomalies affecting the Computer Games Industry were included in the footnotes of the report but industry insiders worried that policy makers may fail to pick up on this information.  In evidence they cite the absence of Digital Media in the Creative Scotland Awards 2012.

Linda McPherson, Director of Creative Industries at Scottish Enterprise said:

“The report’s objective was to look at the wider creative industries in Scotland for the first time. As the sector contains so many disciplines, we know that the report has some limitations, particularly for video games.”

Ms McPherson added that a more current and comprehensive survey of the games sector would be provided later this year as part of the industry’s Digital Inspirations strategy.