Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup
TGI: Power in the Making

Russ Pitts | 13 Oct 2009 11:52
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"The most critical role that the TGI plays presently is to provide a center of gravity for efforts designed to promote the Triangle's game development community nationally and internationally," says Watkins. "By providing a home-base of sorts for key decision makers in the industry, the TGI has been instrumental in helping organize, execute and, most importantly, sustain a variety of regular events and initiatives that are crucial to maintaining the forward momentum generated over the past two years. The Triangle Game Conference, regular industry socials, co-branding efforts at national game development conferences and other evolving partnerships that have been launched over the past two years would have been impossible to achieve without a clearing house for ideas and action that the TGI provides."

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Austin suggests these events, and the collaboration engendered through TGI, are critical for both the region and the member companies. "By attracting companies from outside the region and nurturing new companies formed locally, we grow the market for all of us, and we grow a business ecosystem that has positive economic effects on the state of North Carolina."

Be Adjacent

To hear the TGI directors speak of it, the organization sounds almost too good to be true. Traditionally, companies working in the same industry, chasing the same dollars and the same talent, aren't inclined to cooperate. Why, then, would some of the videogame industry's brightest minds and strongest companies join forces with, in essence, their competitors?

Macris suggests the downsides to such an association are an illusion. "From a laissez-faire economic perspective, it's arguably a downside to our overall society that it is necessary to have associations like TGI organize and lobby for the interests of industries and regions," he says. "But in our mixed economy, such organizations seem inevitable. It certainly is not a downside for Triangle-area game companies."

In other words, at some level, helping your competition succeed is suicidal - a backward business plan pursued only by those with no better ideas, or who are insane - yet in the world we live in, the craziest plans are often the best. If, in helping the TGI accomplish its larger goals each member company can help itself achieve its own, then it just makes good sense.

"Most industries have large companies that have the resources and funding available to sponsor activities, lobby governmental agencies and publicize their presence," says Austin. "The Triangle game development community is made up mostly of smaller companies of less than 100 people, none of which has the muscle to exert this level of influence. By working together around shared common goals, we are able to accomplish what each of us individually cannot do."

It's a risky plan, since each new member represents another potential competitor, but considering what draws talent and opportunities to a region - a broad assortment of individual companies concentrated in a single area - it's the only plan that make sense if the Triangle is to grow beyond a few odd companies whiling away their hours beneath the trees.

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