Many players join Business of Digital Games
By: Lauren Halligan
TROY, N.Y. >> Industry and economic leaders gathered to talk about The Business of Digital Games during a conference on Wednesday at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity.
Despite the winter storm outside, more than 70 people made it to the free downtown Troy event, where they heard from gaming professionals and entrepreneurs from area companies.
The day included a presentation by keynote speaker Brian Corrigan, CEO and founder of MadGlory, Saratoga Springs-based producer of in-game and companion products for publishers and studios.
Later, a panel discussion on Mapping the Tech Valley Digital Games Cluster involved top gaming development professionals from Warner Brothers, 1stPlayable, Catapult Games, MadGlory, PrizePlay, Velan Studios and Vicarious Visions.
Then attendees chose one of three facilitated targeted discussions on entrepreneurship, creativity or technology in the digital game sector.
The Center for Economic Growth also used this event to present the findings of a first-of-its-kind survey of the Capital Region’s video game development cluster, which employs more than 350 people according to the survey.
The report noted that the Capital Region’s video game development cluster has become a recognized force in the local creative economy and is poised to get bigger, with a majority of studios reporting hiring plans for the next 12 months.
“In the Capital Region, video games are entertaining but they are also impacting the economy. The video game development cluster is something that has been organically growing here for more than two decades. Between the software development and artistic talent that comes out of our colleges and universities, the vast startup support infrastructure under Innovate 518, and our unmatched quality of life, this cluster has found fertile ground here and is thriving,” said CEG President and CEO Andrew Kennedy in a news release.
“The video game industry can become a long-term economic engine for the Capital Region. To do this we’ll need to translate our unique assets to make it a destination for talent, capital and entrepreneurs,” added Guha Bala, one of the region’s pioneering video game developers who recently launched Velan Studios in Troy.
The purpose of Wednesday’s event was to explore the depth and breadth of the digital game ecosystem in the Capital Region and opportunities for creative and technical professionals and entrepreneurs.
Cheryl Kennedy, Economic Development Coordinator for the city of Troy, said the conference was a tremendously collaborative event – with representation in some manner or fashion by every gaming company in the Capital Region.
“The panels covered topics ranging from entrepreneurship to jobs and technology, and gave a comprehensive outlook on the industry in our region,” she said. “They weighed in on what could tip the Capital Region cluster, one-third of which is based in Troy according to CEG data released at the event, to a point where 350+ game-related jobs could become 3,000 or even 10,000.”
With an eye toward the future. Cheryl Kennedy and other economic leaders in the room heard several panelists stress that the passage of the New York State Digital Gaming Media Production Tax Credit, along with more available venture and startup funding, could catalyze this into a major growth industry for the state.