Growth of Scotland’s Video Games Industry ‘Could Outpace Oil and Gas Boom’

October 21, 2015

A parliamentary committee has been told that the pace of growth within Scotland’s video games industry could outpace that seen within the country’s oil and gas sector.

Indeed, Chris Van Der Kuyl, an entrepreneur working in the video games industry, claimed during a recent hearing in Dundee on the subject of creative industries in Scotland that growth in his field could “make North Sea oil look like a drop in the ocean”.

Van Der Kuyl, whose company 4J Games has won awards for making the game Minecraft playable on Microsoft’s Xbox console, insisted that the potential for expansion in creative industries across Scotland is “huge”.

“We’re living in a time where the pace of change has never been faster, and nowhere more so than in our sector,” he said.

“The increased rate of change in things like virtual reality and augmented reality, which is just around the corner now, means the growth potential for this industry is not five or 10 per cent a year, it’s hundreds of percent.”

However, Van Der Kuyl went on to say that growth in the video games arena and other creative industries depends on the development of robust support structures and appropriate public investment.

“If there was ever a time to get serious about this industry, this is it – if we let this opportunity pass by, others will take it and Scotland will languish,” he said.

During the same hearing in Dundee, Dr Jo Twist from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment called on Scottish policymakers to ensure that computer science is taught in schools to a much greater extent than is currently the case.

“We must be able to continue to attract overseas talent while we are fixing our own homegrown talent pipeline, in order to remain internationally competitive,” she said.

Scottish companies have a strong history of developing ground-breaking computer games, with titles such as Lemmings, Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto all having been developed by Scotland-based businesses over the course of the past 30 years.

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