Golden hosts roundtable on New York’s growing video game industry

Game on!

On Tuesday, September 16, State Senator Marty Golden, also the chairperson of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation & Entrepreneurship, hosted a roundtable meeting, “New Industry and Entrepreneurs Roundtable: Growing Computer and Video Game Development in New York” at Kingsborough Community College

The meeting featured top notch video game software talent with the objective of discussing New York’s growing influence in the industry and how it can develop more of a presence..

“The gaming industry is large and it’s growing here in the state of New York,” said Golden. “The purpose of this roundtable is to collect the facts and ideas from the best in the industry.”

Although Golden displayed optimism for the future of local game development businesses, he discussed the sizable discrepancy between New York and other states in the industry. “We want to create jobs in New York and keep jobs here,” Golden stressed. “We hate to see those kids graduate, go on the first plane to California or Texas and lose that talent.”

During the conference, Golden stated that New York has only one-tenth the number of game software employees as California. “The contribution is $2.16 billion to the (California) economy,” he said. “What this means to me is that we can clearly do better. We have plenty of room to grow.”

Growth has slowly begun in the area, with 5,500 people working and contributing almost $270 million to the state economy. “We have also started to develop the infrastructure with $500,000 in grants to schools for development in three digital gaming hubs at colleges and universities that offer to read programs in game design and game programming,” said Golden, contending that New York State can increase its presence with the help of a university system that produces exceptional talent, tech hubs, and tax incentives.

Erik Huey, senior vice president for government affairs at the Entertainment Software Association(ESA), discussed how rapidly the gaming market has grown. “In 2001, just 13 years ago, there were about 150-250 million gamers. Now we’ve seen that explode almost tenfold to 1.2 billion gamers,” he said, adding, “The average compensation in our industry is $95,000 a year.” As a result, last year 390 colleges and trade schools offered video game design as part of their curriculum.

Currently, according to Huey, there are 61 game developers in New York State, 34 of them in the city, but the potential exists for a much larger slice of the pie. “New York has a terrific and growing community here, albeit not as quickly as we would like” Huey said, praising Golden for his efforts to jumpstart the industry as he had the film industry, noting he “had a vision for what could happen in New York with the film industry and how it could grow. And it did.”

Kingsborough is located at 2001 Oriental Boulevard.

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