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Tech Trends: A Closer Look at the Thriving Gaming Industry in Northern Ireland and Ireland

  • Written by John Kelly


    Gaming is more than just a pastime; it’s an artform with a landscape in both the North and South of the island of Ireland that is continuously growing!

    According to NI Screen we’re seeing a huge investment going into the gaming industry throughout the island. Currently in Northern Ireland there are over 25 gaming studios which contributes millions of pounds to the NI economy.

    It is a fantastic time to be in the local gaming scene, with events such as NEXUS & GamerFest happening in Dublin next month. There are new and accessible ways of gaming coming to fruition such as Soft Leaf Studios’ accessible game Stories of Blossom, and I can’t forget to mention the anticipation of Hypixel Studios’ Hytale. A game that has been in the works for a while and will hopefully be seeing the light of day within the next year.


    NEXUS & GamerFest

    GamerFest itself is Ireland’s biggest gaming and esports festival, where attendees can experience an unforgettable weekend exploring the latest games and technology, meeting content creators and exploring careers across multiple live stages.

    The folks at GamerFest have recently announced a brand new games conference, NEXUS. This event will gather industry leaders and professionals from the gaming ecosystem in the hope to facilitate invaluable knowledge-sharing and networking amongst developers, publishers, investors and service providers.

    The NEXUS event will take place on 18 October 2023 at the iconic Windmill Lane.  At this site U2, REM, Rolling Stones and Sinead O’Connor recorded some of their legendary work. While the GamerFest event will be taking place just a few days later on the 21-22 October 2023 at the RDS, Dublin.


    Stories of Blossom

    According to Conor Bradley from Soft Leaf Studios, Northern Ireland’s video game industry is blossoming in more ways than one. Soft Leaf Studios is a two-person team comprising of creative director Conor and art director wife Clare. Soft Leaf Studios focuses on developing video games that are accessible to everyone.

    Their game, Stories of Blossom, is a new accessible point and click adventure. It centres around a protagonist called Clara who brings to life three short tales told by her grandad. Clara plays the role of an adventurer, an astronaut and a pirate and gets to befriend cute creatures in odd situations and help solve their problems along the way. This game was launched on 16 August 2023 on digital platforms Steam and Itch, and subsequently Xbox consoles.



    Hytale is an upcoming sandbox game by Hypixel Studios. This game is a world of adventure and creativity based in Derry City. This game is evolving the block game one piece at a time. Minecraft multiplayer server Hypixel began production on Hytale in 2014 with funding from Riot Games, who later bought the studio in 2020.

    Hypixel Studios has held a spotlight from the onset. The trailer for Hytale was released on 13 December 2018 and amassed near 31 million views within a month. To put this into perspective, Fortnite's Season 5 trailer (the most viewed gaming trailer in 2018) racked up 48 million views in six months. At the time of writing this article the trailer now holds over 60 million views.


    Other notable mentions

    I'd be remiss not to mention a few of our guests on the Tech Craic Podcast who are prominent figures in the gaming scene. Namely Caolan McKendry doing some fine work at Ambertail Games and Emma Rose (Emzii), a 2 time eSports champion, who is making waves in the gaming world as a loud and proud transgender woman.


    It’s certainly a great time to be in the gaming scene throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland, with only great things still to come. As always keep an eye out on our website for the latest in gaming news and listen out for the next Tech Craic Podcast Gaming Edition.

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