New York City lags far behind the curve in cultivating and keeping game development talent, according to a new study.
"Getting in the Game," a report issued by the Center for Urban Future think tank, says the city's videogame industry is growing, but not keeping pace with rivals.
It falls behind Montreal, San Francisco and Seattle in terms of job creation, the report found.
"New York City is overdependent on the securities industry," says Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future. "We need to diversify our economy. The videogame sector won't replace Wall Street, but it has real opportunity for growth."
The city employs only 1,200 people in the field, compared to the 34,000 in California concentrated in Los Angeles and San Francisco, or the 3,600 in Montreal, Canada.
A lot of talent is snatched up by big firms like Google that can pay more than videogame start-ups, the report found, and those interested in the gaming industry find the West Coast to be a magnet given the established presence of industry giants there, such as EA.
"We're fighting over a limited pool of talent," says Nick Fortugno, co-founder of Rebel Monkey. The two-person videogame startup has hired 13 people since it started last year. "We have been lucky," he says.
The report suggests local universities and colleges should provide more opportunities in the field, and recommended a closer relationship between existing and interested video game businesses and the city's economic development arm.