Games industry celebrates Scottish success at GCU

15 March 2017

Scotland’s gaming industry took centre stage at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) today.

The University, Creative Scotland and BAFTA Scotland came together to host an event showcasing Games in Scotland, as part of BBC Scotland’s Digital Cities initiative.

The gaming industry has had a dramatic surge in growth in Scotland, with the above institutions helping to drive the success story. A host of leading gaming experts addressed students, staff and interested gamers on the current digital landscape and debated diversity within the sector.

Julie Adair, GCU’s Director of Digital Collaboration, said: “This event allows us to put GCU on the map for what we do and teach in digital skills, not least in the serious games area that David Farrell and his team run so well.”

Channel 4’s Colin Macdonald offered his expertise and shared his insights into the present landscape with a session on the ‘state of games in Scotland’. As Channel 4’s first games commissioning editor, Colin was responsible for creating interactive games based on TV shows Made in Chelsea, Hollyoaks, and The Snowman, before his appointment as head of its new games publishing label, All 4 Games. Colin presented new and creative business models and addressed some of the challenges faced by creatives, producers, broadcasters and start-ups.

He said: “I hope today incentivises and motivates some of the attendees to set up in business or try something new. GCU has a great reputation in the industry and is one of the few [universities] that seems to take games very seriously. The students that come out of GCU are very well regarded.”

There was also a panel discussion with representatives from across the board of Scotland’s commercial game sectors including Mike Cox, studio head of Blazing Griffin; Jon McKellan of NoCode, who recently won a BAFTA for being a Breakthrough Brit and whose new title Stories Untold has received universal acclaim; and Tony Gowland from Ant Workshop.

Iain Simons, Director of Game City and the National Videogame Foundation; Simon Meek, The Secret Experiment; and Morgan Petrie, Creative Scotland, led discussions on the untapped value of videogamers to the cultural establishment.

And finally BAFTA Scotland hosted a session on diversity in gaming, featuring Sally Blake, Associate Producer on The Division (Ubisoft Reflections); Kirsh Hirani, Chair, BAME In Games; and GCU’s own lecturer in Game Design, Dr Romana Ramzan.

After the panel sessions there was a hands-on gaming event hosted by We Throw Switches and the International Game Developers Association.

Running until March 18, Digital Cities is aimed at industry professionals, new entrants and students in the creative digital sector, providing a programme of events to learn new skills, make new connections and find out about digital innovation in Glasgow and further afield.