02 August 2023

InGAME catalyses UK video games industry growth

InGAME catalyses UK video games industry growth

A female with long dark hair wearing a VR headset and holding a controller, assisted by a female with blonde hair

The InGAME R&D centre in Dundee has catalysed significant growth for the UK’s video games industry, validating a new model for innovation ecosystems across the country.

Established in 2018 by Abertay University, in collaboration with the University of Dundee, the University of St Andrews and industry partners, InGAME (Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise) is the national testbed for video games innovation. The project is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Creative Industries Clusters Programme, funded by the UK Government, and receives additional investment from the Scottish Funding Council.

A report from BiGGAR Economics launched today has shown the economic and societal impacts of the project, concluding that companies collaborating with InGAME are expected to generate an estimated £84.7m GVA for the UK economy over the 10-year period 2023-2032, with £55.3 million GVA and 115 jobs to be generated within the Tay Cities Region alone.

In its impact analysis, the report noted that for every £1 of UK public funding invested, InGAME is expected to generate a total of £15.90 GVA for the UK economy and stimulated £2.08 of R&D investment from industry partners.

The impact of InGAME was also instrumental in Abertay University securing preferred bidder status to host one of four new UK virtual production labs. Funded through UKRI’s Convergent Screen Technologies and performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) programme, the Dundee lab will specialise in research and innovation for virtual production, a new cinematography technique that uses computer-generated imagery (CGI), LED screens and motion capture to create virtual movie sets.

InGAME’s key goal was to prove the impact R&D can have on a city video games cluster, increasing scale and value in Dundee through product, service and experience innovation via:

Above: One of the InGAME projects looked at creating tech solutions for dairy farming efficiency.

To date more than 177 research projects have been funded through InGAME’s innovation voucher scheme and more than 2,200 games industry professionals and researchers have been upskilled through training and engagement activities.

A survey carried out by Interface showed that 76% of companies that have worked with InGAME have developed one or more new games, products, services or original pieces of IP, with 72% developing new tools or technology.

Director of InGAME Sean Taylor (above) said: “The video games industry holds massive value for the UK but it is a sector that must keep up with the rapid pace of digital innovation and increasingly tough competition from overseas games development hubs. Since its launch, InGAME has grown to become a convening power at the heart of the Dundee cluster, working with the region’s talented video game studios to address strategic challenges, unlock potential, and broker valuable new partnerships - both within the games industry itself and with wider UK industry. The success of the InGAME cluster underlines the creative, cultural and economic importance of our world class video games industry and demonstrates the value of AHRC’s sustained investment in the UK’s creative sector.”
AHRC Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said: “This impact report underlines the tangible value of cultivating an innovation ecosystem for each of the UK’s games clusters.”
Helen Cross, the Scottish Funding Council’s Director of Research and Innovation, said: “Today’s figures confirm the positive impact InGAME’s research and development has had on the UK games industry and on the economy of the Tay Cities Region. We’re proud to have been involved in the project from its earliest days and to be continuing to make an investment in its success.”
Dundee’s Fair Work, Economic Growth and Infrastructure Convener Councillor Steven Rome said: “Games development is a key pillar of the local economy, and it’s no surprise that the city was recently named alongside Seoul, Las Vegas, Tokyo and Seattle in a list of the world’s most established gaming hubs. InGAME is at the heart of that, turning ideas into real economic value and employment in Dundee and across the country, and demonstrates the strong partnership working that has been established here.”
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO The Independent Games Association (TIGA) said: “No other UK university has the equivalent of InGAME – a distinct initiative that has benefited the video games industry and assisted the UK Government.” 
Deborah Fox, Director of Creative Innovation, Nesta said: “I can’t speak highly enough of InGAME. It has so many strengths: deep domain expertise; a hugely collaborative and open approach; a very practical application of complicated technology; and a willingness to get stuck into a complex problem, to work with us to solve it.”
Colin Anderson, Denki said: “The potential benefits of connecting the frenetic, cutting-edge research being done inside Dundee's games companies with the region's world-class academic sector has been understood for a long time, but it has never proven possible to sustain it in practice for various reasons. “The pioneering thinking and innovative approaches implemented by InGAME has proven to be the best model yet for realising this potential, and provides the foundation needed to cement this long-needed partnership for the future.”
Brian Baglow, Scottish Games Network: “The work undertaken with InGAME was ground-breaking and invaluable in understanding the challenges facing Scotland's rapidly evolving games sector. It was the most comprehensive research undertaken into the games industry in Scotland and will directly support the creation of an ecosystem-wide cluster which can implement all of the solutions proposed by the research and create a more consistently successful and collaborative games sector.”

To request the BiGGAR Economics impact report on InGAME in full visit:  https://innovationforgames.com/crd/ingame-economic-impact-assessment/

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