Scottish Government minister to open UK’s biggest video games festival in Dundee

Written by Jenni Davidson on 4 August 2016 in News

Education and science minister Shirley-Anne Somerville will launch Dare ProtoPlay 2016 as Abertay University signs up to collaborate with one of the biggest players in the industry

Caird Hall, Dundee - Image credit: John Lord via Flickr

The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, will open the UK’s biggest independent video games festival in Dundee today.

Around 13,000 people are expected to attend the free Dare ProtoPlay 2016 event, organised by Abertay University with support from Dundee City Council, Sony, Channel 4 and the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, over the next four days.

ProtoPlay is UK's biggest independent games festival and showcases the games produced by students on Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital programme as well as other games from local, national and international developers, together with a programme of events.

At the opening, Somerville will meet with video games developer and Abertay alumnus Dave Jones, who is behind internationally successful games such as Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto.


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Somerville called the event "an excellent showcase of the innovation and talent that Scotland can offer aspiring games developers".

She said: “Scotland’s creative industries support more than 71,000 jobs and contribute more than £5 billion to the economy.

“Our computer games sector is a global success story, with highly successful games like Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto developed here.    

“Abertay University introduced the world’s first Computer Games Technology degree almost 20 years ago and continues to attract top talent from around the world to study in Dundee.

“Its Dare to be Digital competition is an excellent showcase of the innovation and talent that Scotland can offer aspiring games developers.”

This year’s event will coincide with a visit to Dundee by a senior delegation from Perfect World, one of the world’s largest video games companies, who are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Abertay University. 

The memorandum will lay the foundations for a closer working relationship between the Chinese company and the university, to include collaboration on skills and research as well as possible joint degree programmes, exchanges and career opportunities for Abertay graduates.

Dundee is recognised as a centre for games technology, with £4m UK Games Fund, a UK Government initiative aimed at boosting the country’s video games industry, also based there.

Run as a community interest company, the fund offers grants of up to £25,000 to support small games developers to get concepts into commercial production.

Scotland Office minister Andrew Dunlop was in Dundee last week for a roundtable with the UK Games Fund and games developers based in the city.

He said: “Dundee is an outstanding centre of expertise in games development, and it is significant that Dundee was chosen by the UK Government to run the nationwide UK Games Fund programme.

“Scotland’s video games industry is an absolutely vital part of the country’s economy. I am clear that, working with the Scottish Government and other partners as ‘Team UK’, the UK Government will do all it can to continue to provide strong support for the Scottish economy.”

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