What's Next For Boston

Organizer: Darius Kazemi, Orbus Gameworks

Person's Notes

Johnny Richardson's notes:

Darius introduces himself

  • Trying to make Boston somewhere cool to work

We have a very strong IGDA chapter; kind of an anchor here

  • 150-200 ppl per meeting @ Skellig pub in Waltham, MA
  • Format: hour of networking, hour for a speaker, another hour for networking
  • Attendance has plateau’d, but that’s fine since we’re at capacity
  • Just launched our own Boston Post Mortem job board
    • About 30 jobs always up there
    • Keep people in Boston

Estimated 1500-2000 active developers in the area

  • About 60 companies, number 4 or 5 place to make games in U.S.
  • Big titles: Rock Band, BioShock, etc.

Government

  • A TON of groups really want more game developers here once you explain that the jobs are tech-level and pretty sounds; good money = good economy
    • Creative Economy = Braintrusts
  • State-level as well as city-level gov’t
  • Pushing through tax credits, which generally only affect big firms
    • Can be close to 50% off taxes

Stuff like GameLoop is meant to build community and bring people in to the city

  • Also, Boston Indies is a new meetup group
  • Possibly new co-working spaces like Betahouse may be started soon just for games/creative industry
    • Pay portion of rent for indies to work

Folks from NYC would like to emulate Boston game dev efforts

  • Not really any documented method for success; people in gov’t sort of just e-mail Darius and suddenly there’s a meeting
    • Darius is putting together a panel for GDC and may have more hard data on this “knowledge” soon
  • How much of it was with IGDA?
    • Almost all completely independent
      • Boston chapter just recently became a part of IGDA officially
      • Haven’t gotten any $$$ from it yet as IGDA is broke (see IGDA – What Is It Good For? notes)
      • We do get liability insurance, which is cool
  • We should do a Boston vs. NY event!

Boston Post Mortem emailed recently asking members to talk to their State reps in favor of making non-competition clauses in employment contracts illegal

  • IGDA Board was notified of this and made it IGDA’s official stance on the issue as a whole

We’re having a PAX here in March!!

  • Kinda under the radar still
  • We also just had IGC East and Games for Health here too
  • Trying to really capitalize on PAX
    • Hopefully a “Boston party” – State House and Penny Arcade seem on board possibly
    • Mayor declaring March “Video Game Month”…maybe? Laughter! No, but really
  • We want PAX to come back over and over. Hells ya.

GameLoop sort of wants to turn into something close to Montreal Games Summit…eventually.

Harborside real estate here is cheap for startups now!

Harmonix and Turbine are sort of the BIG anchors here; developers instead of publishers here in Boston

  • 2K Boston and Rockstar New England are publisher-owned but still developers

Cross-pollination with lots of non-games or web companies like iPhone firms that need game designers

  • Conduit Labs – half web/half games folks
  • Boston can leverage this

Post Mortem kinda runs itself at this point

  • Maybe 10 hrs of labor per meeting between 5 people
  • A lot of infrastructure in place
  • Was basically dead in ’04-’05, so got ambassadors at firms to tell whole places about meetings, and brow-beating!
  • Huge attendance when Ken Levine gave a BioShock talk, stayed maybe 20+ every month from them on
  • Also had a Rock Band 2 night
  • We have food/drink sponsors randomly now; usually volunteered, not sought out
  • Doesn’t need to change much now, though we’d love to be able to fly people in to talk someday
  • Hub for all kinds of local events
  • Hard to find venues other than Skellig for meetings because we need free space and booze

Students

  • At most 30% of chapter crowd are students per month; we haven’t done any student-only chapter events
    • Open as possible
  • One of the great things about this city is how much academia there is!
  • The students who get out to the meeting in Waltham are showing initiative
  • Viability of students-only stuff? BUT, internship fair was an idea at one point! Even folks in gov’t were willing to set it all up! WHY DIDN’T WE DO THIS??
  • Some schools like MIT, Harvard (Berkman), Tufts, MassArt, etc have games stuff; Emerson & some other schools should be making a big push in 4-5 years

Boston isn’t too dogmatic about what games are

  • Not just hardcore games firms, but also kids games places
  • Biz dev – VPs and stuff at New England Games SIG
  • More places for smaller, more specific games groups to meet?

Philly/NY events are also awesome since it’s not a huge geographic stretch.

Session Audio

From Johnny Richardson:
.mp3 Audio, 5.50mb (Pretty good quality)

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