SCOTLAND’S gaming industry is still on a journey to create a “truly indigenous sector”, according to technology entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl.
The Dundee-based games veteran speaking on yesterday’s Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey, credited Sir Clive Sinclair, who died earlier this month, for opening up affordable access to computers for a generation of today’s games developers.
Mr Van der Kuyl, co-founder and chairman of games developer 4J Studios, best known for adapting the hit game Minecraft for a host of different consoles, said: “Without Clive Sinclair many of us in the games industry would not be here – Dundee today has more games developers per head of population than anywhere on Earth.”
The city, of course, went on to become the birthplace of Grand Theft Auto, one of the best-selling videogames of all time. And today, the games industry is bigger by revenue than every other segment of the entertainment industry combined, he noted.
Mr Van der Kuyl described Sinclair, the creator of the ZX80, the UK’s first mass-market home computer which was followed by the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum, in the early 1980s, as the “Elon Musk of today”, recalling how Sir Clive brought the manufacture of the ZX Spectrum to the Timex factory in Dundee.
Mr Van der Kuyl, who studied computer science at the University of Edinburgh, recalled how a visit to Silicon Valley in San Francisco made him decide to start his own tech business in Scotland.
Mr Van der Kuyl said that his Polish and Dutch ancestry had opened him up to always “looking outwards” and striving to be entrepreneurial.
He set up 4J Studios with his schoolfriend Paddy Burns – 4J is a reference to Dundee’s famous “jute, jam and journalism” moniker with joysticks representing the fourth “J” – in 2005.
The games industry in Scotland, he said, had started to scale in the last decade but it is the next decade is where the huge economic benefit will come.
“It really is a 30-year journey if you are truly going to create an indigenous sector and it is important that there are businesses returning money to shareholders in Scotland as well as money going back to New York.”