Former Turbine Executive Says Boston's Location Is Hurting Local Developers

Former Turbine Executive Says Boston's Location Is Hurting Local Developers

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Amid slumping profits for Boston-area gaming companies and sluggish venture capital investments nationwide, a former Turbine executive said the city's East Coast location is partly to blame for local game developers' economic woes.

Last year, the city of Boston created a government-run committee under the Boston Redevelopment Authority to expand local game development within its community. In the meantime, however, the recession has hit certain sectors of the local game industry hard, including Boston-based Harmonix, which took a $432 million drop in its revenues. Rather than invest in the hit-driven AAA model of game development, it seems venture capitalists are turning to smaller start-ups like those in the social media, casual gaming and middleware sectors of the game industry.

But former Turbine President and CEO Jeffrey Anderson, now the founder of online football game developer Quick Hit, Inc., says investment in his company is still suffering from two factors: an overall chilling effect in venture capital caused by the recession and, more specifically, his company's Greater Boston-area location. While Boston has a number of gaming giants, many large gaming companies such as Blizzard, Nintendo and EA are all based on the West Coast. "It's harder to find people who understand the business that you're in," Anderson said. "Therefore it makes it more difficult getting [venture capitalists] to invest."

Other Boston gaming company executives are considerably more optimistic, however, including current Turbine President Jim Crowley. "I think it's really a robust market," Crowley said. "Good ideas and good execution find capital. I'm actually quite bullish."

It appears in the short term that videogaming's presence in Boston is growing, as the city will be the host of PAX East this March. Whether or not the local government's efforts, including the government-run advisory committee and a community website for Boston game developers, will be successful remains to be seen, but the city's recognition of the relevance and importance of game development is laudable.

Source: Boston Globe via Gamepro

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Isn't there a 2K Boston that made some good stuff?

I like the tone of this article. Makes the gaming industry seem like a tough one, both to thrive in and take down.
Well, it sucks but as long as we keep trying, eventually gaming will come to the whole world.
Fight Harmonix! Fight independent dev's! You can do it! Bring gaming to the east coast!

Well, despite that still alot of good titles coming out of Boston based companies.

Lets hope the development continues in the area

Jaredin:
Well, despite that still alot of good titles coming out of Boston based companies.

Lets hope the development continues in the area

As someone who lives in Boston, I'd love to see them expand.

It would be cool if we were as recognized for our game companies as the West is :D

Well I hope Boston area gets some help.

We need some gaming industry in the South like Texas would be a great spot

BOSTON!
Had to say it. We need more game companies up here. It would be nice to actually have a industry around here that I'm genuinely interested in.

Onyx Oblivion:
Isn't there a 2K Boston that made some good stuff?

There was briefly, but now they've reverted to their original name of Irrational Games, and yeah, they've done a bunch of stuff like BioShock and Freedom Force and System Shock 2.

They and Harmonix are the major ones around here, and I didn't realize Turbine was so nearby. Rockstar also has a studio just north of the city (where my old roommate is currently trying to help the Red Dead Redemption team meet their deadlines). I can't think of any other big companies off the top of my head, but there are some little ones, too, like Dejobaan, the guys who made AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! Some places doing casual/social stuff for things like Facebook that I've seen written up, too.

They're around if you look for them, but nowhere near as many as some areas on the west coast. Hopefully it'll pick up a bit with the investment efforts and things like PAX drawing attention. It's not like we don't have an enormous number of techie people and companies in the area to draw on and a metric squidload of students in every relevant field getting cranked out yearly by the huge number of schools nearby. Maybe they can get some of them to actually stick around with the companies they start up instead of moving other places that are cheaper to live.

As someone living in the Boston area and trying to stay local in terms of getting into the industry...

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF...

Just kidding. I'm sure that with PAX East on the way and with more companies, independent and AAA, popping up, more recognition will be gained by the area. Boston/Massachusetts has a lot of history with video game design too, seeing as how Looking Glass Studios was here when it was still around.

 

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