Abertay’s transformation of Scotland’s games industry

Economic Transformation in our Nation

Universities have a strong culture of delivery which aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. We’ve curated a set of 19 stories to show how universities support people, businesses, industries and Scotland’s regions towards economic transformation.

Creative initiative to ensure the games industry continues to thrive in Dundee

Abertay University is internationally renowned for video games education and research and is integral to the success of the industry in Dundee and Scotland, providing the graduate talent pipeline to existing companies, supporting the development of start-ups, and pushing new boundaries in ‘applied games’ for sectors beyond entertainment.

Abertay researchers lead InGAME, a collaborative initiative run in partnership with the University of Dundee, the University of St Andrews and local and international industry, which has been key to supporting the continued growth of the Scottish games sector since 2018.

InGAME delivers innovative research and support services to games companies, de-risking creative experimentation, developing scale-up capacity and driving diversification and growth throughout the Dundee games cluster and beyond.

To date, the Centre has upskilled more than 1,700 professionals and supported more than 175 collaborative R&D projects. InGAME has a strong focus on ‘applied games’ for areas beyond entertainment, such as health and education, applying fresh thinking about how games and gamification can benefit society and the economy. One example is the Nesta Virtual Healthy Neighbourhood Challenge, designed to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis. The competition sought to harness the potential of AI, big data, game design, and game technologies to solve the challenge of healthy living and promoting healthy food choices.

It’s possible to draw a direct line between Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics and the continued success of the Dundee video games cluster. The industry has attracted £400m of inward investment to the city since 2019 and has seen an estimated 164% increase in direct GVA over the same period. Dundee currently has around 40 games studios and the city has more games developers per head of population than any other city in the UK – the majority of whom are Abertay graduates.

In recent years, companies formed at Abertay have enjoyed significant success. In May 2022, Hyper Luminal Games announced it would more than double its staff headcount to 50 having more than tripled its annual revenue to £3m. Chief Executive and co-founder Stuart Martin is an Abertay graduate.

In October 2022, Dundee-based games company, Puny Astronaut, announced that their maiden game, Skye Tales, is to receive an international release on Nintendo Switch. The company formed at Abertay and created the initial iteration of the game as students before going on to develop it for commercial release.


Key Points:

National Strategy for Economic Transformation theme: Productive businesses and regions

Institution: Abertay University

Location: Dundee

  • More than 1,700 professionals upskilled & more than 175 collaborative R&D projects supported through the Centre.
  • The games industry has attracted £400m of inward investment to the city since 2019 & increased direct GVA by 164% increase over the same period.