Next week New York State lawmakers will host a second event at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to explore video game development as an economic engine for the state. New York State Republican Sen. Martin Golden will be holding a second roundtable of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, which he chairs, at RIT on Oct. 22. Golden held the first session in September at Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
The roundtable, "Growing Computer and Video Game Development in New York," is designed to get input from leaders in the interactive entertainment industry, entrepreneurs, and legislators on how to attract and support the industry in the state. The event is also open to the public.
"The purpose of this roundtable is to create discussion around policy and programs that will make the state of New York the center of this booming video game design and development universe," says Golden.
RIT was chosen as the venue because of the university’s game design and development programs, along with its new multidisciplinary Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC), which will work with students to take ideas to market.
Golden says the point of all this is ultimately to create jobs in the field.
New York is currently fourth among the top five states in the U.S. when it comes to game industry employment, providing 5,474 direct and indirect jobs. The average compensation for an entertainment software industry employee in New York was $96,062.
"While New York’s gaming software industry is large and growing, it still lags behind California, Texas and Washington in the number of companies, employees and contribution to the economy," says Golden. "Rochester Institute of Technology is an Upstate university already working to keep talent in state, by providing students with the tools to succeed academically while creating market-ready products."
Scott Nicholson, an associate professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and director of the Because Play Matters game lab, will open the afternoon session with a talk about transformative games and how they can be used as a tool to transform players.
"Our hope for the event is to make sure that the resources Upstate New York can offer are considered as part of a plan to attract gaming companies to New York state," says Nicholson. "We are delighted that Senator Golden is interested to learn how upstate New York can complement New York City to make an attractive home for game companies."
The morning session will be moderated by Golden; along with Professor Andrew Phelps, director of RIT’s MAGIC Center and founder of the School of Interactive Games and Media; and Bob Herz, director of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship. Panelists include:
• Blake Gross, RIT game design and development student/Blind Horizon Studios Inc.
• Brian Moyer, Storm Frog
• Colin Doody, Darkwind Media
• Jason Arena, Workinman
• Kenny Johnson, Zephyr Games
• RJ Mical, Independent Game Developer/Google
• Shane Brennan, EPIX/Studio 3 Partners
• Stephane Morichere-Matte, Microsoft Games
• Tobi Saulnier, 1st Playable Productions
• Theresa Mazzullo, Excell Partners
• Robert H. Fritzinger, SUNY Fredonia Business Technology Incubator
• Denny DeLeo, Trillium Group
The afternoon roundtable will be facilitated by Phelps and Herz. Panelists include:
• Dustin Kochensparger, RIT game design and development student/Blind Horizons Studios Inc. • Jon-Paul Dyson, The Strong
• Lee Sheldon, Games and Simulation Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
• Michelle Yaiser, Creative Cloud Learning at Adobe
• Scott Nicholson, School of Information Studies at Syracuse University/Because Play Matters game lab
• Sebastian Deterding, RIT MAGIC Center
• Victoria VanVoorhis, Second Avenue Learning
• J. Alison Bryant, PlayCollective, PlayScience and PlayLab
• Rami Katz, Excell Partners
• Jim Senall, High Tech Rochester/Rochester Angel Network