A Scottish Government report recently confirmed what many had suspected, but perhaps not dared to hope for. The economy was beginning to show signs of life, with an improvement in employment prospects, and economic growth that actually put Scotland ahead of the UK as a whole. These trends have continued through the year, with youth employment in particular looking relatively healthy.
For many, of course, the hard times were truly hard, and for many they still are. Some industries however seem to have been more or less recession-proof. Gaming, whether online or otherwise, is one of them. One of Scotland’s success stories has been Edinburgh’s own Rockstar North, founded (as DMA Design) in Dundee in 1988. Their first major success came with Lemmings in the early 90’s, an addictive, slightly macabre puzzle game that ended up shifting more than 20 million units.
Grand Theft Auto, the first in the franchise, was a further triumph, with acres of free publicity centred around the violent (but often hilarious) scenes in the game. By the third version, GTA had become a gaming phenomenon. The current incarnation, GTA V, became one of the best-selling games of all time, garnering huge amounts of praise for its cinematic feel and attention to detail.
Rockstar is just the most well-known of a long list of games and gaming-related companies based in Scotland. Edinburgh’s Ingot Games is one of the newer operators, producing puzzle apps like BoxPlots for mobile devices. It’s the spread of mobile gaming, as well as the easy availability of wi-fi and other connection methods, that have allowed smaller companies into the market.
The lower costs of producing games for iOS and Android devices allow developers like Edinburgh’s Nevistech to come up with apps like Pet Roulette (think Russian Roulette with hamsters), without worrying about the multi-million pound budgets that the big console games have to deal with.
Casino games, played both online and otherwise, have remained as popular as ever throughout the lean years, though the rapid growth of the online casino has affected the real-life version to some extent. The Genting Club Fountainpark continues to thrive on Dundee Street. Players who want to practise their card skills beforehand can try an online casino; a good poker bonus to play online can be of help here. Gaming is now a very important part of the Scottish economy. Critics of video games and casinos would do well to remember that it’s exactly these sorts of industries that have helped Scotland and the rest of the UK through an extremely difficult few years.
(Images courtesy of wikipedia, gtanet.com, gentingcasinos.co.uk)