The games industry in Dundee goes back to the late 80s, early 90s, when the Sinclair Spectrum home computer was manufactured in the city by Timex. This led to the formation of several informal computer clubs, one of which spawned a group which became DMA Design. DMA was the creator of several small but critically-acclaimed games, which provided enough revenue for them to work on an original title called Lemmings. Lemmings went on to become one of the first international hits on home computer, being ported to 22 different devices and selling several million copies. This in turn allowed DMA to create more new and original titles, one of the first of which was ‘Grand Theft Auto’. The rest is history…
As staff left DMA and the city’s other studio, VIS, many of them stayed locally and set up their own studios. This small but growing industry then in turn encouraged the, then new, university of Abertay to look seriously at the creation of a games degree, which went on to become the world’s first. As students started to graduate from the university, they also joined the local companies, or set up on their own.
This growth in turn encouraged the local commercial organisations (Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Business Gateway, etc.) to learn more about the games sector and offer help to these new companies.
This ‘virtuous circle’ has continued and established Dundee as one of the global hubs for video games development, with more than 50% of all of the games studios in Scotland located within the city.
The benefits to games companies being in Dundee are obvious – a strong talent pool of graduates, expert insight and support from the public sector and a vibrant community which enables cross-pollination and collaboration between companies.