Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop admits recent video game sector 'zero' value report 'misrepresented' creative industries

The recent Economic Contribution Study by Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland, 'misrepresented' the country’s creative industry and computer games sector, the cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs Fiona Hyslop has admitted.

The admission came in a letter in response to PR firm Media House founder Jack Irvine, who wrote to Hyslop to outline his concern at the Economic Contribution Study – An Economic Assessment of the Arts and Creative Industries in Scotland, which claimed that the computer games industry was worth ‘zero’ to the economy.

The Scottish Government has since told The Drum that it plans to undertake further research on the impact of the sector since the results were released, but this letter highlights the Government’s further lack of faith in the results of the study.

Said Hyslop in her response to Irvine; “The Creative Industries sector and Computer Games in particular were not best reflected by the sector definitions that were current at the time of the…publication.”

She explained to Irvine that the Scottish Government had already ‘recognised this potential misalignment of industry topography’ and that national statistics were based on data taken by the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Business Survey.

She highlighted the Audio/Visual and Digital industries as being the most relevant sectors including a range of relevant Standard Industrial Classification codes under Computer Games and Software/Electronic Publishing, which revealed a gross value of £1bn and offered 19,300 jobs.

“The Scottish Government recognisies that there may be overlap between these two domains and that industry are keen to have fairer representation of the number of jobs it secures,” added Hyslop. “In light of this we are working with our partners and industry representatives, including TIGA whose recent research suggests that there may be around 600 jobs in Scotland’s Computer Games sector. It is our intention to widen the SAB’s framework to enable the measuring and monitoring of individual sub-sectors more closely.”

She concluded by stating that by undertaking this strategy the Government hoped to help discover which businesses had not been included within the statistics due to the accounting practices in place.

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