By Scott Wright

A TECHNOLOGY-focused communications agency, which has worked for Marvel, Disney and Warner Brothers, has opened its first office in Scotland, attracted by the heritage and potential of the country’s “burgeoning” gaming industry.

Dimoso, founded by communications entrepreneur Jacki Vause in 2011, has opened for business in Edinburgh – home of renowned video game developer Rockstar North, creator of Grand Theft Auto.

And it has kick-started operations with a contract to raise the profile of Scottish Games Week, which takes place from October 24 to 28.

Ms Vause, whose firm is headquartered in London, said Dimoso has come to Edinburgh at a buoyant time for the gaming industry in Scotland, where major players include Dundee-based 4J Studios, best known for developing the Minecraft console edition. Major investment has also been made in studios such as Build A Rocket Boy and Ant Workshop.

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Figures published by gaming industry body TIGA in May showed there are 147 active games development companies in Scotland, supporting 2,269 permanent and full-time equivalent creative jobs.

Ms Vause predicts that Scotland can be a “powerhouse” of the gaming industry across the world.

She told The Herald: “The games industry is burgeoning in Scotland. As an agency, we are tightly entrenched in games and mobile games, and also in technology. I have worked with Scottish clients in the past but I have never had an office up there, and I have always felt it was something that was really important for clients.”

Asked why she feels the Scottish gaming industry is in such good health, Ms Vause highlighted the country’s “creative and storytelling” heritage, which she said “lends itself to the games industry”.

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She also highlighted the quality of academic courses in gaming in Scotland, and the Scottish Government’s backing for the sector as a “driving force” in the wider technology industry.

But Ms Vause said gaming is facing a skills shortage. “It is such a burgeoning industry – it is growing year-on-year exponentially. And certainly in lockdown the mobile games industry went through the roof in terms of growth. In terms of recruitment, it is a tough slog to get really talented people, which is why it is even more important to promote education and get more women into the games industry as well. There’s a lot of good movement for women in technology and games.”

Asked if the skills shortage has been exacerbated by Brexit, she said: “Yes, because you see a lot of talent driven by the European Union.

“I don’t mind saying I am a staunch anti-Brexiter. I was mentoring students from different schools across Europe, as well as in the US. Our ability to bring these students over has been completely curtailed, which is extremely frustrating.”

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Scottish Games Week will feature a series of events across Scotland, from the major cities of Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh to locations in the Highlands and Scottish Borders. The events will each seek to examine different aspects of the Scottish games ecosystem as part of an overall ambition to promote gaming as a major contributor to the country’s technology sector.

Brian Baglow, founder of the Scottish Games Network and a key figure behind Scottish Games Week, said: “We’re thrilled to have a team as dedicated, knowledgeable and creative as those at Dimoso to partner with us on the first-ever Scottish Games Week. The team’s passion for games and enthusiasm for the event really shines through. We know that having them on board is going to take SGW to the next level. The fact that Dimoso is establishing itself in Scotland shows that the industry is at a point of real change and is something they are truly passionate about. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Ms Vause said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for the games industry in Scotland. It’s a country that has an incredibly rich video games history, with the likes of DMA Design and Rockstar, but now is the time it is truly levelling up.

“We’re thrilled to be opening an office in Edinburgh, and to have Scottish Games Week on board as the perfect first client. We look forward to supporting Scottish game developers to enhance and grow their profile for the whole world to see.”