It’s the time of year that every gamer loves with the shops filled with brand new video game releases and many receiving the latest new console for Christmas.
With the popularity of video games on the rise thanks to the explosion of smart phones and success of new platforms, VisitScotland has identified a new tourism trend – the “consoliday” (console-holiday) – people choosing to experience in real life the landscapes they see virtually before them within the games, or wanting to visit the country in which the game was conceived.
Minecraft fans turned out in their thousands to catch a glimpse of Stampy the Cat in Dundee last month, and with popular tour operators such as STA already offering special ‘gaming adventure tours’, the national tourism organisation is hoping consolidays could be as popular as ‘set-jetting’, where people visit a destination after seeing it in a film.
Game development and design will play a significant role in Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 with events over the year including Dare ProtoPlay - Scotland’s largest video games festival - celebrating innovation, creativity and talent in the industry.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Scotland’s fascinating creative achievements. Scotland’s video games industry is a thriving, internationally acclaimed sector which punches well above its weight and is a major contributor to our country’s economy.
“We are delighted that the new consoliday trend has potential, with gamers from home and abroad heading to Scotland to discover the landscapes they’ve seen virtually, and also experience where the inspiration for many world famous games began.”
Scotland features in a number of games such as Grand Theft Auto (Forth Bridges and other destinations), Call of Duty: Ghosts (Stonehaven/Dunnottar Castle), Tomb Raider III (Loch Ness), Project Gotham Racing 2 (Edinburgh), the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series and more.
In addition to being inspired by the landscapes on screen, gaming fans also travel miles to Scotland to see where their favourite games were created in cities such as Dundee and Edinburgh.
Dundee is known as the birthplace of the Scottish games industry with some of the world’s biggest titles developed within the city including Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto. The city currently plays host to numerous design studios and Abertay University is famous for its world-leading video game development courses.
Edinburgh is the home of Rockstar North – developer of the successful Grand Theft Auto series – and many make the trip to Scotland’s capital city to get their photo taken outside the company’s office which has recently moved to Holyrood Road.
Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on January 1, 2016. For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/IAD2016