The gaming industry is growing by leaps and bounds here, and in fact grew faster than any other creative industry in Austin from 2005 to 2010. However, while the video game business continues to grow in terms of revenue and jobs created, there are shortcomings in Austin that may cause Austin game designers to be more at risk of losing their jobs, Statesman.com reports.
Austin is now one of the top five cities in the country for video games, behind Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Although game companies only employ one percent of the city’s workforce, the fact that the number of jobs and economic impact of the industry tripled during a recession is remarkable. Also, the jobs in the industry are highly desired from the City’s point of view because they pay well and employ creative workers, important for a town that is constantly praised for its creative class.
Austin’s gaming industry is also diverse, with players in all the areas of the market, from console titles to mobile games to multiplayer online games and even Facebook games. Though the latest explosion in gaming talent is recent, Austin has been a gaming town since 1983 when Origin was started by the famed Richard Garriott and his brother Robert Garriott. Sold to Electronic Arts in 1992, you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody in Austin who doesn’t at least know a former Origin employee. However, EA closed Origin’s Austin operation in 2004.
That’s one of the problems with Austin’s slice of the gaming pie, according to Garriott. None of the major publishers have their headquarters here. When a game does not do well and its time to shut down operations or lay off workers, satellite offices such as the ones established in Austin are often the first to go. He counsels that the only way to make it in the long run is to become a big company.