My Column

Its game on as we play a lead role

  • Date: Monday 8th April 2019
column Picture

The creative industry in Scotland and the UK as a whole is booming and I’ve often looked at the benefits that film and television production have provided to the local economy.

But more and more we need to start thinking about our incredibly successful gaming industry in the same breath.

After all, Scotland is the third largest cluster in the UK for video games, behind only London and south-east England, and employs thousands of people in the industry.

It’s also constantly evolving, increasingly popular with audiences of all ages, and certainly shouldn’t be overlooked for investment opportunities. 

In fact, recent reports revealed that the video games sector is worth more than film/TV and music combined – accounting for more than half of the UK's entire entertainment market overall.

A study, by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) back in January stated that the gaming industry is worth £3.86 billion - more than double the value reported in 2007. And this figure doesn’t even include mobile or free app games.

More recently, the Association of Interactive Entertainment, also known as Ukie, announced in April that the UK gaming market has rocketed and is now worth an estimated £5.7 billion.

The UK trade body for gaming broke this figure down further stating that the lion’s share of value comes from software at around £4.01 billion. Hardware is estimated to be worth £1.57 billion with culture - including game related merchandise, toys and books - responsible for £109.6 million.

Scotland is home to a number of developers and game publishers – video games trade association Tiga estimates more than 90 companies work in the games development sector in Scotland.

The best known among those is Rockstar North, the developers behind Grand Theft Auto who have headquarters in Edinburgh, and 4J Studios in Dundee which developed Minecraft for consoles and handheld devices. Both franchises are now of course household names.

Rockstar was one of the big names in this week’s BAFTA gaming awards 2019 with six nominations for western action-adventure game Red Dead Redemption 2 – although it surprisingly didn’t claim any wins on the night. 

Gaming has too often been maligned, regularly being blamed for crime and violent behaviour, particularly among the younger generation.

However, it goes without saying that not all games are violent and many serve to enhance hand-eye coordination, dexterity, problem solving, and social skills, to mention just a few of the benefits.

The industry has also advanced and developed considerably, providing many viable career prospects that should not be overlooked.

It’s estimated that more than 1,500 people in Scotland work in creative roles within the video game industry with the number continually on an upward trend.

The constant evolution in games development gives me faith in the long-term success of this sector. A casual look back to gaming in, say, the early 80s shows just how far we’ve come – and there’s so much more in the pipeline.

Indeed, in that vein, it was interesting to note some recent announcements from Apple and Snapchat. 

Apple has launched its own gaming subscription and Snapchat has revealed plans for a gaming platform inside the app. Added to the existing Snapchat messaging tool, the latter’s games would allow groups of friends to play against each other without leaving the app.

It looks like an already very lucrative industry with so many online platforms and streaming opportunities might just be about to expand even further – and Scotland looks set to continue proudly leading the charge.



It was great to see a whole host of inspirational runners taking to Glasgow’s Clydeside last week to launch the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run.


The stories of those who were there to officially kick off the countdown to the iconic event made for some fascinating reading, including Christine Thomson, who is 69 years young and only put on her running shoes for the first time 18 months ago.


Alongside Christine on the day was Lisa Ritchie from Fife, who uses running to boost her mental health. The benefits of running for Lisa have been so great, she is able to get out and about whilst managing her mental health issues – all of which she hadn’t thought possible a few years ago.


Personally, I’ve utilised running as a great tool to unwind, clear my head, and enjoy huge health benefits, and I know many successful entrepreneurs and business owners do the same.


I expect more than a few of them will join over 30,000 like-minded individuals who are expected to participate on 28 and 29 September, with thousands more set to line the streets to cheer them on.


Glasgow is transformed into a running mecca, and it’s not just the fast and the experienced that descend to pound the streets, with runners of all ages and abilities able to take part in various events over the weekend including the Toddler Dash, Junior Run and Family Mile taking place on Super Saturday, and both the 10k and half marathon on the Sunday.


With six months to go, there is certainly plenty of time to sign up and get outdoors to train –especially if you are keen to challenge yourself. 


You might not be Mo Farah, but you will certainly feel all the better for it, and anyone who takes part is a real winner in my eyes.




I always enjoy searching for April Fool’s Day gags in the media.


Some can cause much consternation among those who haven’t kept their eye on the calendar, which is all part of the fun.


One cracker came from Burger King who actually did launch a meat-free creation called the Impossible Whopper, but cleverly used the date to create lots of debate around it.


Another one that nearly caught me out came from Apex Hotels. Their CGIs of a proposed aerial gondola connecting their Grassmarket hotel to the top of Edinburgh Castle looked the part and had me going for a moment – so well done to them.


However, I think the greatest April Fool must go to Theresa May and her fourth Brexit vote – a clear winner by far.





With Mother’s Day celebrations taking place across the UK last Sunday, it was both a time to thank and celebrate our nearest and dearest.


For those whose mother is no longer with them, it was also a day to reflect on those special moments and fun times they would have enjoyed in the past.


It was emotional to read about a four-year-old Kilmarnock girl who wrote a Mother’s Day letter to her ‘mummy in heaven’, after she had passed away four months ago from cancer. 


Ella Lennon posted the card and a kind stranger from the Royal Mail went out of their way to give her a lovely reply. A touching gesture and I’m sure it would have really meant a lot to the little girl.













Back to column listings

Recent News

News Archive