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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Could Scotland be the new Japan?
Game grab
Scotland's gaming expertise is recognised across the world
A major interactive entertainment festival has launched in Edinburgh with the aim of encouraging Scotland's computer games industry to rival Japan.

Scotland already has several successful games companies and it is hoped the industry will continue to become an important part of the economy.

Delegates at the festival have come from around the world, a measure of Scotland's growing reputation.

The Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival opened on Thursday.

The event, now in its third year, runs for two days at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Experts attending the festival opening said game talent in Scotland is increasingly admired.

The worldwide gaming industry is estimated at 20bn - money that Scotland's economy is increasingly benefiting from.

Scottish companies are doing things that no other companies in the world are doing
Brian Baglow
Industry expert

Research has shown that adult gaming is growing at a far faster rate than among children.

The average age of the computer gamer has been measured at 30 and almost half of gamers are now women.

Fred Hasson, of the Games Developers Association, said game companies in the Far East are growing more aware of the talent emerging in Scotland.

He added: "As far as content goes, I would say that there are people in Japan who would say 'there are some really talented people in Scotland'.

"The Japanese are very much now looking at the western markets."

Expert Brian Baglow said mobile gaming, online gaming and gaming on digital television were set to revolutionise the industry.

He added that firms in Scotland were a step ahead of other countries.

"In terms of forward thinking, Scottish companies are doing things that no other companies in the world are doing," he said.

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