Why the video games industry doesn’t exist in Scotland?

Yesterday, I was forwarded  by a colleague a striking article by Scottish Games and the official report it refers to.

Apparently the last official studies demonstrate that the video games industry and education don’t exist in Scotland. I was very surprised by the news, as the project I work in is led by University of Abertay (well-known by their programmes in VideoGames design and development) and through the project I have been working with several video games companies of a decent size. Then how it comes they’ve disappeared? It also seems they haven’t. Scottish Games are already preparing an official response to the report.

Well, as many, I believe the company who carried out the research and report – DCResearch – didn’t look thoroughly enough.

Also, at the beginning of the Moving Targets project I spent some time reading all the official reports on the creative industries I came across, trying to get a mental picture of where things sat. I was amused by the classifications and distinctions made by the different organisations.

Looking at the categories used by DCResearch, I firmly believe video games have been swallowed by other sectors. I acknowledge the difficulty of defining boundaries between the creative sectors – especially now as current technologies enable multi-media and cross-platform experiences – but for our own sake we need to come up with a sensible classification.

As everything steps into the digital world, then almost anything can be considered “Software and electronic publishing”, which is the leading category in the mentioned report.

I will give some examples of how I think digital media get easily mixed up:

  1. If it was, I wonder how eegeo would be classified, as it is both software and video game development company. They have developed innovative mapping technologies which they use for both functional applications and video games.
  2. I wonder how Tern, which is both a television production and digital development company,  would be classified. The same happens with their recently founded Digital Adaptations & the Story Mechanics which develops interactive storytelling media.
  3. I wonder in which category the freelancers that de-bug videogames (and other software) would be included.
  4. I wonder how companies that develop video games or interactive media for education or marketing purposes would be classified as the old 55degress did.
  5. I wonder how companies such as Codeplay would be considered, since they support video game companies through compiling solutions.
  6. As the DCResearch’s category is “Computer Games” would companies such as Lucky Frame who develop video games for mobile platforms fit into their definition?
  7. Digital artists who work with interactive and responsive software as Professor Simon Biggs or Beverley Hood… how would they be classified?
  8. Where would they place companies like Musemantik  who creates interactive music solutions for the game industry?

… and so on.  My point is that Video games are a mixed media. They can include professionals from film or animation, graphic art, sound and music, software, interaction and interface design, experience design… in general digital media professionals are flexible and dynamic, and therefore difficult to encapsulate. 

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