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Scottish videogame trade body emerges following GTA 5's success

Scotland boasts around 100 games development studios with the sector seen as important to the country's economy
  • @davidcrookes

Scottish videogame developers are being asked to join a new trade organisation which has been set up by a former employee of the videogame developer behind Grand Theft Auto.

The Scottish Games Network, set up in 2005 by DMA Design's former PR manager Brian Baglow, has today positioned itself as the official games industry body north of the border.

It will be in direct competition with the two existing organisations representing British gaming, UKIE and TIGA, although it has vowed to work with them.

The new trade organisation aims to entice anybody with a professional interest in videogames.

It comes as Grand Theft Auto V has proved to be a massive success story for Scottish games development. Made at the Rockstar North studios in Edinburgh, GTA V has become the 12 highest-selling game of all time.

Mr Baglow said: “We are now in the position where there are multiple organisations interacting with the games sector, from government, parliament and the public sector, to the wider digital, screen and creative industries. Our goal is, very simply, to help the country’s games industry grow and prosper.”

Scotland has around 100 development studios and the videogame sector is seen as being of great importance to the country's economy. Mr Baglow says one game was released every week in 2012 by development teams in Scotland.

Both TIGA and UKIE have said they will support the new organisation.

UKIE CEO Jo Twist said: "It is very important that the industry remains as joined up as possible to help each other through practical and other issues that face the UK's games companies.

“We will continue to support and work with Brian and the Scottish Games Network, as well as all our Scottish-based UKIE members, and the wider Scottish games industry, in the way that is most useful for them."

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said: “"TIGA is looking forward to working with the Scottish Games Network (SGN).

"We have been a lone voice in representing Scotland's gaming companies for over ten years now, and have made significant progress during that time. TIGA works to inform the Scottish Government and Holyrood Parliament about the video games sector and discusses policies with them that can be introduced to enable the sector to grow.

"TIGA also has good relationships with Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland. In addition to this, we aim to help Scottish developers build successful studios by connecting them with investors and publishers, saving them money through industry discounts and providing them with professional business advice.

"Yet there is still much more work to be done. As such, TIGA aim will be to be involved in the SGN, to further advance the interests of our Scottish members and all other Scottish developers and digital publishers."

Scottish Games Network's conversion into a trade industry body coincides with a call by UKIE's chairman Andy Payne for a merger with TIGA, something the latter organisation has been keen to avoid.

DMA Design created the GTA series in 1997 before becoming Rockstar North. The company also produced the best-selling Lemmings franchise.