How Dundee became a global destination for game design

Despite its humble size the Scottish city is home to one of the world’s oldest game courses at Abertay University, and was the birthplace of Grand Theft Auto. As part of our gaming special this week, we delve into the intriguing story behind Dundee’s gaming history

Games have become a global business over the last couple of decades, with scenes emerging in existing tech and culture hotspots such as Tokyo, San Francisco and Montréal. It may come as a surprise that Dundee is considered to be one of the best places in the world to set up a games studio today. As Scotland’s fourth biggest city with 150,000 people, it has less than half the population of the capital Edinburgh and a quarter of neighbouring city Glasgow, let alone trying to compete size-wise with the three million-strong tech powerhouse of Silicon Valley.

And yet, Dundee is home to a number of big players on the games scene including 4J Studios, the company responsible for developing the world-famous Minecraft game for consoles such as Xbox 360, and Outplay Entertainment, the developer behind popular mobile games such as Angry Birds POP! and Crafty Candy. Meanwhile, the game design degree at local university Abertay is 19th in the world and top in the whole of Europe.