Ireland is currently experiencing a gaming boom with video game developers and gamers all contributing to its popularity on the Emerald Isle. The Irish government has made the gaming sector a priority, as the technology industry has provided jobs and prestige in the country.
The popularity of gaming has also led to the development of various innovations with an Irish theme. There are video games set in Ireland, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids or games that focus on Irish sports like Gaelic Games: Football, which features Gaelic football and hurling. The interest in all-things Irish has extended to other areas of gaming and resulted in many Irish themed slots such as rainbow riches reels of gold, offered by Betfair Casino. So, the increased interest in Irish themes in various areas of entertainment has also contributed to the development of new video games and the proliferation of gamers.
There are manifold explanations for the popularity of gaming in Ireland. First, the country has a proud video gaming past. The Atari 2600 was made in Limerick and now video game developers based in Ireland include Pewter Games Studios and Keywords Studios.
Ireland is a very attractive place for technology companies because of the lower rate of corporation tax compared with other European countries. IBM was the first technology company from the USA to invest in the country in 1956 and now companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple have made a base there, providing a jobs boost.
The Irish government has also increased support to the gaming industry, which provides approximately 2,000 jobs, and this will continue in the future following the announcement of a digital gaming tax credit. The government tax credit will help gaming companies by providing tax relief on costs incurred during the design, production, and testing of games.
The games writer, narrative designer & artist Ellen Cunningham hailed the acknowledgment of the cultural value of the gaming industry: “Games are being recognized now as the cultural products they are.”
The cultural value of gaming is further enhanced by Eimear Noone, an Irish conductor and composer, who has created musical works for games such as Diablo III and World of Warcraft.
While eSports is experiencing a boom in Ireland with County Laois, Dublin and Limerick the most popular locations for players. The value to Irish culture provided by high-profile gamers such as jacksepticeye, who has gained a huge following on YouTube, is likely to rise further. Jacksepticeye, whose real name is Seán William McLoughlin, has a mind-boggling 28.1 million subscribers on the online video sharing platform and his YouTube channel has amassed almost 15 billion views. A recent video of him playing Uncharted with actor Tom Holland has achieved 5 million views.
The Irish government has created an atmosphere for the gaming industry to continue to thrive in Ireland and we are likely to see further innovations in the future as online gaming becomes even more popular.