The Scottish Government has given its backing to the creation of a national games strategy – in recognition of the economic contribution of a growing and diverse sector.

Videogaming success stories such as Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft for consoles have underpinned the development of national hubs in places like Dundee and Edinburgh.

A national strategy to support its economic development will make Scotland the first part of the UK to formalise its support for the sector.

Brian Baglow, the director of the Scottish Games Network, said: “The games sector is Scotland’s secret weapon. We have far more to offer Scotland’s economy and future as a digital society than anyone realises.

“However, we do not yet have the same recognition as other areas such as data, fintech, or film. The creation of a national strategy will enable us to increase the understanding of the enormous potential of games, increase the support for the ecosystem as a whole and position Scotland as a pioneer in this incredible industry.”

With the support of the national TechScaler network and CodeBase, the goal of the strategy will be to create a more successful games ecosystem in Scotland and ensure the country can support the sector more effectively as it continues to grow and evolve.

The global games market, which was worth over $184 billion in 2023, contributes over £188.5 million to the Scottish economy annually, making games as large as areas such as fintech, data, cybersecurity and space.

In addition to the commercial impact of the games market, the transformative potential of tools, technologies and techniques from the games ecosystem are having a significant impact in sectors such as film and TV, healthcare, manufacturing, immersive technologies and the rise of the metaverse.

The Scottish Games Network will lead the creation of an action plan which will provide tangible, actionable recommendations to increase knowledge of and support for games. The organisation will reach out to and welcome involvement from all participants, across industry, education, the public sector and beyond to gather evidence and ensure the strategy is informed by and supports the whole games ecosystem.

Dates for a series of workshops across Scotland and online will be announced in the near future.

Shona Robison, deputy first minister, said: “Scotland has a rich heritage in producing pioneering games and the industry is filled with talent, innovation and creativity. I saw this first-hand when I joined representatives of the sector for a roundtable discussion last November.

“The Scottish Government recognises the contribution that the sector already makes and the potential it has to contribute further social, cultural and economic benefits. That is why I have backed the industry to create a National Action Plan for Games in Scotland that boosts and accelerates growth and job creation, as well as amplifying the global reputation of one of Scotland’s most promising and diverse sectors.”

Yasmin Sulaiman, VP of partnerships at Codebase, said: “The Scottish Games Network has played a huge role in celebrating and supporting the games community in Scotland, and we’re excited to collaborate with Brian in the development of this new national games strategy.

“Through major initiatives like the Scottish Government’s Techscaler platform, CodeBase exists to build better startup ecosystems, and in Scotland, the games community is an integral part of that mission.”