The Scottish government has responded to the outcry over a report from the government’s agency partners which claimed the games industry in the country generates no revenue, employs just 200 staff, and has attracted no students.
Creative industries in Scotland
The report covers 16 creative industries in Scotland, using publicly available information dating back to 2010. It lists the Scottish games industry as employing 200 staff and having a value of £0.
These easily falsifiable conclusions (as ScottishGames.net notes, Rockstar North alone employs over 200 people, and there are 120 games related companies in Scotland) are caused by issues with how the report classifies companies, and because it rounds down anything below £10 million to zero.
The report also notes that there are no students studying for games industry related degrees in Scotland, and lists just 25 in a category which could conceivably cover games studies, despite the fact that Scottish instituions offer respected courses.
Although the flagrant inaccuracy is quite funny, the report could potentially raise problems for the Scottish games industry in the future if it is used to inform policy decisions.
Scottish Government’s position
A spokesperson with the Scottish Government got in touch with VG247, stating that the Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, which compiled the report was aware of the anomalous data it published.
“This study itself acknowledges upfront that the computer games sector data is anomalous,” the spokesperson said. “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.
“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.”
The spokesperson also noted that 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.