THE number of jobs in the digital games industry has almost doubled in just four years as small home-grown companies set up by entrepreneurs multiply rapidly.
More than 2,800 people are working in 83 different companies spread through the country, with the number of jobs up in the sector by 91pc since 2009.
Jamie McCormick, who released the survey independently for industry information website GameDevelopers.ie, said the digital industry is accelerating rapidly.
"Games would be one of the flagship digital exports that are there. That is definitely an area for growth," Mr McCormick, who works with Gala Networks Europe, said.
"The games industry isn't going to save the economy but it will certainly make a big difference towards it. Especially for younger people coming through, there are 16 year olds and 17 year olds out there that are genius at what they do.
"They have everything around them now to be able to make a game and start making money before they've left school."
Steve Collins, whose games company Swrve plans to create 100 jobs this week after a $6.25m (€4.8m) investment, said it was an "incredibly exciting time" for the industry.
"It's a really opportune time to challenge our current thinking about what a game is and who plays games," Mr Collins, who was speaking at the launch of Game – a new exhibition by the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin – said.
The lucrative sector is estimated to have generated more than €2bn of sales from phone apps to PC games over a 10-year period from 2001 to 2011 – with the Irish market worth more than €211m last year. Globally, the industry is expected to hit $70bn (€55bn) in sales in 2013.
And the number of people actually developing games in Ireland is rising, as the October survey found the number of developers was up 292pc since 2009.
The Government last year unveiled plans to double employment in the sector to 4,500 by 2015.
Organisers behind the Game exhibition are hoping to inspire some of the next generation with more than 20 games on display.
Get more information on the exhibition at sciencegallery.com.