GROWTH in Scotland’s video games sector ground to a halt last year from a rate of 8.1% in 2017, according to research from the industry’s trade association.

Tiga said Scotland had 1537 permanent and full-time equivalent staff working on games development in 84 companies, down marginally from 1540 in 91 companies in 2017, following the closure of several studios.

The country was now the fourth largest games cluster in the UK, after London, the South East and North West, down from third place.

Scotland was also home to 7.9% of the UK’s total games companies (down from 8.9%) and 10.7% of developer headcount (down from 11.6%). In addition the sector supported an additional 2810 indirect jobs. Tiga said Scottish firms in the sector invested an estimated £88 million a year in salaries and overheads, contributed £80m in direct and indirect tax revenues and indirectly contributed £194m to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga’s chief executive, said: “The halt in headcount growth is due to the closure of a number of studios … and the failure to compensate for this growth from surviving studios.

“Scotland’s average studio size has historically been larger than that for the UK as a whole which is also partly why the loss of so many studios in a single year has had such a disproportionate impact.

“However, Scotland remains the fourth largest games cluster in the UK. Scotland has a range of experienced studios working in games for mobile, online, educational and console markets and has first class universities educating excellent graduates for the games industry, including Tiga-accredited Abertay University ... If the Scottish games industry is to renew growth then we need to ensure that more Scottish games companies benefit from video games tax relief, a measure which effectively reduce the cost of games development.”

Professor Gregor White, Dean of Design and Informatics at Abertay University said there was still much to be positive about, adding: The industry in Dundee continues to innovate and a new generation of start-ups is emerging ... Once again, Abertay University is ranked as the leading games school in Europe and continues to attract the best young talent from around the world to study and work in Scotland.”