Capital Region Digital Gaming Studios Keep People Connected
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2020
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Several Capital Region digital gaming studios are playing an important role in supporting the online networks that are keeping a rapidly growing number of people connected. Helping these large studios and others in the region rise to the occasion is an 8.3 percent increase in employment, according to the Center for Economic Growth’s annual survey of the digital gaming cluster.
**Studio heads available for interviews. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org**
Keeping People Connected
Capital Region studios such as WB Games New York, PUBG MadGlory, Wolfjaw, Network Next and Jahnel Group are providing support services, such as those for chat functions and in-game purchases, that enable players to maintain virtual communities as physical communities are avoided. For example, WB Games New York in Troy is supporting Injustice 2” and “Mortal Combat” and PUBG MadGlory in Saratoga Springs is supporting “PlayerUnknown’s Battleground” (PUBG).
“In this time of crisis, our number one priority at Vicarious Visions is the health and safety of our employees and their families. We hope that everyone is staying safe and finding ways to enjoy family time together whether that’s through video games, other distractions, or meaningful conversation,” said Vicarious Visions Studio Head Jen Oneal.
“We build scalable backend services for large-scale multiplayer games,” said Mitchell Patterson, Wolfjaw’s studio director. “Some of the systems and third-party services we help integrate into publishers’ games and engines are already seeing tests that are pushing their systems to the max. In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen several publishers expand their bandwidth to accommodate the surge in users.”
“Our work on digital game publishing platforms allows people to stay connected and play online with one another. Even during a time with lots of economic uncertainty — we’re seeing a surge in demand for online game services development,” said Jon Keller, Jahnel Group’s chief growth officer.
“In a difficult time where people are not able to connect with each other face-to-face, online games like PUBG allow us to be social, to be entertained, and to have some much-needed fun. Friends can still log in to PUBG and join a two- to four-person multiplayer squad and play together in a game of 99 players. These are all real-life players who could be signing in from across the country or the world to join the digital battlegrounds,” said PUBG MadGlory Director of Operations Clarke Foley. “Playing a multiplayer online game while talking in real-time over Steam, Xbox Live, or Playstation Network with your friends, family, or gaming buddies, is an opportunity to have some positive and stress-relieving interactions, while staying at your own home or even on your couch. Despite the current situation, gaming companies in the Capital Region are able to support online games and continue to develop new features, new titles, and new experiences
even though the majority of our workforces may be working from home for a period of time.”
CEG Digital Gaming Cluster Survey
The Capital Region’s digital gaming cluster continued to expand in 2020, with its large studios seeing an 8.3 percent increase over the year. The region’s community of independent studios also grew slightly, bringing the digital gaming cluster’s total workforce to 455, according to a CEG’s survey.
As of February 2020, the region’s six large studios1 had a total 377 employees as of February 2020. Compared to the previous year, that represented an increase of one large studio and 29 employees. The region’s six large studios include Vicarious Visions in Colonie, PUBG MadGlory in Saratoga Springs, and Velan Studios, 1st Playable Productions, Wolfjaw and WB Games in Troy.
Major developments among the cluster’s large studios included Velan Studios’ publishing agreement with Electronic Arts to develop team-based action games for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Mobile. PUBG MadGlory continued to expand following its 2018 acquisition by the Seoul, South Korea-based, and Wolfjaw, formerly Odd Networks, jumped into the large studio category.
“We have a thriving, welcoming community of talented game making enthusiasts in the Capital Region. This unique location is ideal for both cultivating existing talent and welcoming new individuals and families. With the wide variety of restaurants and entertainment, to the ease of transportation options allowing a visit to one of the major cities surrounding us, there is always something to do if you live and work here in the Capital Region, said Velan Studios President Guha Bala.
“The region’s many universities and legacy of innovation means we have access to a great mix of technical, creative, and curious minds. Just what we need for games,” said Tobi Saulnier, CEO of 1st Playable Productions.
Among the region’s 18 indie studios that participated in this year’s survey, there were 78 workers, including employees, contractors and volunteers. That was three more indie studios surveyed and two more workers, compared to the previous year.
“The Capital Region is unique in the sheer amount of resources that exist in the area for budding independent game studios. Troy and Albany both provide excellent spaces and opportunities for young developers to start out in the industry with components, such as the Tech Valley Game Space and the LevelUpState incubator program. These programs provide essential advice, industry-related expertise, financial support and education to local developers,” said Amanda Howanice, the lead sound designer at Bork Bork Studios.
“Troy is a veritable nexus of game development in the region. Given the levels of community support, the available grants, the growing strength of the games industry here, and the potential for growth, this may be one of the best places on the planet to start up and run a small to medium sized development studio,” said Maurice Suckling, the studio head and creative director of Trojan Duck Games.
Indie highlights include:
Bork Bork Studios released the “Doggo Unleashed” demo that it presented at the Empire Games Expo.
Clockworks Games in Troy had a VR game, Sharkferno, published on the Oculus Store.
Dang! in Troy announced its new game, Boomerang X, “a stylish acrobatic arena shooter about descending into the darkness (and fighting giant evil spider monsters).”
FlyInside in Troy released a streaming scenery service for its simulator, allowing users to load high-resolution imagery around the world as they fly.
No! in Troy was invited to the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling in Salt Lake City, where they gave a demo of its game and presented a poster.
Queenship Game Studio in Troy secured its first investor last summer, and it completed RPI’s Level Upstate Game Dev Accelerator that same season. Queenship shipped its first game, Open Spaces, last October, and fully incorporated that same month.
SIR-VR Studios in Albany was the winner of the Tech Valley Game Space’s ProtoStar Pitching Contest for its mobile game currently in development, SewerBlazer HD. The studio last year also made a very early prototype of SewerBlazer HD, which will be further polished for fans for the game in 2020.
Trojan Duck Games in Troy recently secured $6,000 in funding from the Tech Valley Game Space’s ProtoStar Pitching Contest.
To support the growth of the region’s digital gaming cluster, CEG has done the following:
Promoting the Capital Region’s digital gaming cluster with a new logo and web site.
Representing the regional cluster at the Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS) and the Game Developers Conference (GDC)
Assisting local studios in obtaining funding or finding new space.
“CEG has spent the past two years working with our local studios to provide comprehensive support in areas such as workforce development and marketing in an effort to grow the cluster and create an international digital gaming hub. We are proud to work with them as they continue to provide the means to unite people around the globe during this challenging time,” said CEG President and CEO Andrew Kennedy.
1 Large studio = 14 or more employees
The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is the Capital Region’s regional economic development organization, with over 265 investors in business, government, education, and the not-for-profit sectors. CEG is a New York Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation-designated Regional Technology Development Center and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). For more information, visit www.ceg.org.