Page Loading

Games and creative industries

Find out more about the facilities, talent and tech that make up Scotland’s world-renowned creative industries, from games development to film and TV production.

Did you know?

Scotland is one of the top games and software developer locations in the world and has a reputation for being pioneering, award-winning and, quite literally, game-changing.

  • 90,000 people

    are employed in the Scottish creative industries.*

  • £4.6 billion value

    the amount that the creative industries are worth to the Scottish economy.*

  • 175+ gaming-related courses

    across our 16 universities, three of which are in the global top 200.**

Source: Scottish Economic Statistics, Scottish Enterprise February 2021; Skills Development Scotland, February 2021

  • Scotland is changing the game

    For the last 20 years, Scotland has been one of the leaders of video gaming innovation. Some of the best-selling video games of all time have emerged from Scotland, such as Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Crackdown, Lemmings and Angry Birds Stella POP. More recently, No Code opens in a new window won the rights to develop a new game for the Silent Hill franchise, while Keelworks opens in a new window won a publishing deal with Japan-based Konami opens in a new window , and Outplay Entertainment is currently the largest independent mobile developer in the UK.

    These global successes have been borne out of a vibrant and connected games environment. Come to Scotland and you’ll join a culture of innovation and creativity. Academic institutions such as Abertay University and the Glasgow School of Art have an outstanding record of industry collaboration.

    By locating in Scotland you’ll find staff costs and property significantly lower than London, San Francisco or Boston. Above Scotland’s thriving urban social scene, we’re famous for our stunning scenery offering you the perfect work-life balance that complements business and lifestyle pursuits in equal measure.

What Scotland can offer your creative company

Join a connected and collaborative community

Scotland is one of the most exciting and cost-effective locations in Europe with an array of business hubs and incubators perfect for games developers. With gaming clusters in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond, you can rest assured that you’ll find the right match for your company’s requirements, and the ideal environment for growth.

Dundee is widely recognised as the birthplace of Scotland’s gaming industry and is renowned for its expertise in digital media and creative industries. Having gained international recognition as a UNESCO City of Design, Dundee has a solid design pedigree which has drawn many games investors to the area.

Glasgow is home to a large digital technology cluster employing almost 34,000 people, and was named the top cultural and creative centre in the UK in 2020. Boasting the top ranking for both the number of digital tech students and graduates in the UK’s core cities, Glasgow has the skills and talent your business needs.

Edinburgh enjoys a growing reputation as a global tech hub and was recently named as one of the top UK locations for tech companies by CBRE. The cultural network within the Scottish capital is also thriving, fuelled by an energetic and connected creative community.

Read our interview with FanDuel co-founder, Nigel Eccles on Edinburgh's tech scene 

Access the skills and talent you need

By choosing Scotland for your games project, you’ll find a community of ambitious, passionate and globally connected leaders. You'll have access to:

  • Over 96,000 highly skilled people working in digital technology roles
  • The UK’s first Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education at Abertay University, a founding partner of Sony’s PlayStation First programme
  • Highly sought-after graduates from specialist university courses such as Computer Gaming Technology and Glasgow School of Art’s Games & Virtual Reality programme

Digital skills support for businesses locating to Scotland 

Benefit from ongoing support

Invest in Scotland and you’ll benefit from close connections to the best academic institutions, both in Scotland and abroad. You’ll also enjoy access to dynamic industry clusters and meet potential partners working across mobile, online, educational and console markets.

You will find support from UK bodies such as the Independent Game Developers’ Association (TIGA), the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) and Innovate UK. By locating in Scotland you'll also benefit from the expert support of the following Scottish organisations:

How we can help 

Why Texan games tech firm AdInMo moved to Scotland

Gaming veteran Kristan Rivers set up AdInMo, an in-game advertising platform, in 2017 in his home city of Austin, Texas. He opted to switch headquarters to Scotland in November 2019, building its team during lockdown with our help. "AdInMo is very much a child of Covid times," says Kristan.

Watch this video to hear Kristan explain why Scotland is a fantastic location for tech companies to set up and grow.

Scotland's technology expertise

Scottish companies such as ChilliConnect and deltaDNA excel at developing live ops platforms, monetising and analytics. They can personalise games to optimise revenue streams and both have now been acquired by Unity Technologies.

The Data Lab is Scotland’s innovation centre for data and artificial intelligence (AI). It ensures that Scotland’s capabilities in AI are maximised, offering games companies access to exciting graphics innovations which can enhance the realistic experience of the player.

VR and AR are core to Scotland’s gaming success, with key investments being made in the sector. Project Mobius, a £1 million collaboration between the University of Glasgow and Sublime Digital, is building a pioneering VR education platform to transform learning globally. It will allow higher education institutions across the globe to harness the power of learning behaviour data.

Scotland is leading the way in developing innovative lip synchronisation, facial expression and behaviour technology to make characters more lifelike.

Scotland’s strength in life sciences creates plentiful cross-sectoral opportunities. One example is Konglomerate Games’ innovative product which was designed in partnership with Microsoft. It turns the daily chore of physiotherapy exercises for children with cystic fibrosis into a series of fun computer games.

Many companies are using educational gaming to drive innovation. Robotical uses Marty the robot to teach electronics, robotics, coding and more. While Skoog Music’s assistive technology for children, parents and teachers is bringing coding and music to life.

Microdisplay technology is driving immersive VR innovation in Scotland. Forth Dimension Displays design and manufacture high-resolution near-to-eye microdisplays for military, medical and virtual reality imagers.

Filming in Scotland

Our breathtaking landscape with mountains, coastline, ancient forests and unique light conditions have always made Scotland an ideal filming location.

You’ll see Scotland’s landscape used in classic films like Local Hero, The Thirty Nine Steps and in more recent international blockbusters, such as Skyfall and World War Z. Epic TV productions such as Outlander are filmed on location in Scotland too.

More about Scotland's filming locations on opens in a new window  

We also have generous tax rebates opens in a new window for UK productions and experienced, award-winning producers, directors, cast and crew.

Film studio and productions facilities

A large-scale film and TV studio has been given the go-ahead in Edinburgh's Port of Leith. First Stage Studios Ltd, will be led by Oscar-nominated and BAFTA winning film and television producer Bob Last and actor and director Jason Connery.

A major new television and film studio is set to be created in the heart of Glasgow. Council plans are underway to develop a £11.9 million production facility within the city’s historic Kelvin Hall which will deliver a huge boost to the city’s dynamic screen and creative sectors.

Power behind the pictures

Read more in our spotlight on film, TV and media tech in Scotland 

The Scottish transmedia company blazing a trail across the world

Scotland-based transmedia company, Blazing Griffin has achieved meteoric production success. Its team created the feature film Anna and The Apocalypse, the video game Murderous Pursuits and worked on global TV sensation Outlander. And all from their Glasgow HQ. Blazing Griffin's work with Outlander has given it global recognition, and it's now working with companies across the world, including Netflix, MGM and HBO.

You might also be interested in

  • From California to Scotland

    Games and mobile developer Outplay Entertainment swapped the Golden Coast of California for the east coast of Scotland.

  • Financial and tax incentives

    Want to bring your project to life? You can benefit from a range of attractive incentives to help you upskill your staff, develop new products and services and access growth capital.

  • Digital skills support

    Discover how Scotland's digital talent is benefiting businesses around the world and how Skills Development Scotland can help you access that talent.

Want to find opportunities in Scotland to grow your games or creative business?

Get in touch to see how we can help.