PAX East is now over, but the gaming has not stopped in Boston. Many times it is hard for us East Coasters to think about jobs in the video game industry because so many companies are based in California or Texas. The fact is that Boston has become a hotspot for game companies and continues to drive developers to its location. The Massachusetts Tech Leadership Council holds regular events for students, developers, and business teams to meet with the intention of designing games in the Boston area. This article is to talk a little about what is going on up North and how it is a growing spot for people interested in getting into video games.
We know the MMO companies like Turbine, 38 Studios, and Tencent all have studios in Boston and are working on projects. Harmonix is also based out of Boston. These companies continue to drive game development and actively recruit from the Universities in the area. Massachusetts employs over 1,200 people in the digital gaming market and is working to continue growth in the area.
The Thursday night before PAX East, we got a chance to check out the Microsoft offices right next to the MIT campus. The party there was hosted by the MTLC and showed off the high tech gear that one of the world’s largest software companies as well as one of the top technical Universities could offer. Game studios had booths at the party for recruitment and to show off some games to attendees. Whether it was an MMO or IPhone game there was a lot to take a look at. This type of atmosphere was great for anyone looking to be a part of games. Students mingled with developers and executives in hopes that recruitment and expansion could be achieved.
It is at these types of parties or gatherings that the true nature of gaming shines through. Everyone is passionate about making games, playing games, and working on games. It is a great place to get started. Many people ask us how to get started in the video game industry. Several of the panels at PAX East dealt with that very subject. Game conventions are a great place to start, if there is one in your area. Like in any industry getting your foot in the door is the hardest step. The MTLC party at PAX was only about $50.00 to get into and had food and drink as well. This is a much better place to network for cheap than spending the money on GDC passes, which can get costly. If you do not have a lot of money but know that an event is taking place near you, definitely look for ways to get there and volunteer or work so you have a chance to mingle with developers.
PAX East’s attendance proved that a game show has some serious numbers when it hits the East Coast. Last year at New York Comicon, video games received a similar reception, with many companies having booths and showing off their titles. For next year it looks like PAX East will grow again and players, devs, and fans will all get together for another round of fun. If you are interested in not waiting around for another convention and live near Boston, the MIT Business in Games Conference is this Friday, April 16th. It is held at the Microsoft NERD center which is near the MIT campus. You can find the information here.
For anyone looking to get into games, this is a great place to start. If you don’t live in Boston, check in your local area for game companies and meet ups that might be going on. You would be surprised at what you might find. Many of us want to see better games being made, and getting involved is one of the best ways to make those changes yourself. It is about time the East Coast got on the gaming map! The city of Boston is growing as a great market for game companies.