Scotland has achieved the largest rise in employment in the gaming sector of any of the nations and regions of the UK, a report by Knight Frank concludes.

The real estate consultancy’s (RE)Play report observes that the number of people employed in gaming in Scotland grew by 60% between 2017 and 2019 – which Knight Frank said was the latest period for which data is available. This put Scotland top of the table of 12 UK nations and regions.

Knight Frank noted the sector is estimated to be worth around £350 million to the Scottish economy.

A spokesman for the consultancy said the 60% rise had taken the workforce in the gaming sector in Scotland to 5,674, based on data from the British Film Institute.

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Knight Frank’s report identifies Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow as among the UK’s top 20 gaming industry hubs. Dundee has the fourth-highest concentration of gaming companies among the UK’s major towns and cities, the report observes.

During the first half of this year, Edinburgh featured in the UK’s top three cities for property leasing transactions in the gaming sector, measured by number of deals, Knight Frank said.

Greater Glasgow is among the top five areas for gaming skills, with 76,719 professionals having relevant core skills, Knight Frank noted. Greater Glasgow, in fifth place, is two spots ahead of Greater Edinburgh, which has 66,221 professionals with core gaming skills.

Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank, said: “Scotland has a strong track record when it comes to gaming, with Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto among the iconic games to be developed here, and 4J Studios bringing Minecraft to consoles. Dundee is widely recognised for its expertise in digital media and gaming, with Abertay University forming the UK’s first centre for excellence in computer games education.”

Noting a new £60m Esports arena with up to 4,000 seats is set to be completed in the City of Discovery in 2025, he added: “The growth of the sector has been strong in recent years, and that only looks like continuing with such a strong skills base and new infrastructure like the Dundee Esports arena. Property will undoubtedly have its role to play in supporting creativity, attracting and retaining talent, and giving occupiers the flexibility for high growth.”

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Jamie Phillips, partner at Knight Frank, said: “The gaming sector is one of the UK’s major success stories of the past few years, earmarked as a priority growth sector by the government. The sector’s success is a UK-wide story, with 63% of gaming companies based outside of London. Thriving gaming hubs can be found in larger cities as well as locations including Leamington Spa, Guildford and Dundee.

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“Fast-growing gaming companies are increasingly seeking space with unique digital infrastructure, including resilient connectivity, uninterrupted power supply and an appropriate HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) system to maintain optimal server operating temperatures. Proximity to data centre services - either in-built or via third-party providers - are principal considerations when choosing a site or location, as is space which can support flexible working patterns and sustainability objectives. “