State of the Austin Video Game Development Community

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Last month was brutal for the Austin video gaming industry.

Two major studios, Vigil Games and Junction Point Studios, were shut down. Vigil closed its doors after its bankrupt owner THQ couldn’t find a buyer for the Austin company that created the well-regarded “Darksiders” games. Meanwhile Junction Point, which was started by gaming godfather Warren Spector, was shuttered by owner Disney after a disappointing holiday release.

Quantifying the exact number of jobs lost is difficult because neither studio would give figures, but Junction Point was 130 employees strong in 2010 and industry insiders estimated that Vigil was at least in the 80 to 100 employee range.

Making matters worse, Austin was already reeling from layoffs at other major studio outposts in town — BioWare Corp. and Zynga both announced local layoffs last year.

Percentage-wise, a few hundred layoffs represent a small part of the total number of local gaming and digital media jobs — more than 7,000 people worked in those fields in 2010, according to a report by Austin economic consulting firm TXP. But the lost jobs all came from high-profile studios that employed large numbers of people.

So, what does all this mean for video game development in Austin? While local developers say the cuts are painful, some see a potential shift toward more independent development in town.

Read the rest at the statesman:


Written by messwatx

2013/02/10 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

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