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Top Game Development Community

Fortune Magazine recently named Orlando a top game development hub and Florida the #6 top game development state in the country, annually contributing $171 million plus to the economy and employing more than 4,500 developers. O-town caters to both big and small from top studios like Zynga and EA Tiburon to indie studios like Phyken Media and Outhouse Games, and events like Indienomicon and the Indie Galactic Space Jam have led to more than 60 games created by 45 studios and teams.

We asked some local indie shops what makes Orlando such a great game dev community, here’s what they had to say:

“I’ve lived in Miami and traveled all over, and I haven’t seen resources like we have here when you look at the Melrose Center and the Full Sail User Experience Lab, where developers do extensive user testing, it’s amazing. Plus, and I’m sure this will get said over and over, is the gaming community is amazing, so supportive, when new studios come into town, developers will introduce them to other studios, artists, musicians, plug them into the community, get them engaged quick. People here are eager to help each other, not to sacrifice their own progress, but to help others get ahead.”

– Kunal Patel, Indienomicon Co-Founder and CEO of game development studio Phyken Media

“What makes Orlando truly a great place for games is the community. There are plenty of passionate gamers and devs as well talent from nearby universities that are all helping shape Orlando into a hub of game development especially for aspiring indie studios and startups.”

– Cameron Bollinger and Erica Holcomb, Founders of TBA Games

“The game development community in Orlando is a unique combination of indie developers ranging from one-man bands to x-men like individuals coming together to create magic on multiple platforms.  The creativity in this community is more wide ranging due to the breath of experiences from simulations to entertainment games and even just software development.  We are a collaborative and competitive community; not only do we strive to develop games with high immersion but we challenge each other to create better quality games.  I’m proud to say in some shape or form that the majority of us have worked together in some capacity.”

– Gerard Merritt, CEO of CelleC Games, Inc

“One thing I think makes game developers in Orlando unique is the influence the theme parks have had on us. For many of us, we’ve grown up with the rides at places like Disney and Universal. They have undoubtedly influenced the types of games that we make, giving us a real world perspective of what experience design can be.”

– Justin Link, Founder of Chronosapien Interactive

“I have never worked in a community that has been so open to helping one another to succeed as a business and as an individual. I have worked cross coast and never in my professional experience have I felt as strong sense of community as I do here in Orlando. To make it even better the talent pool here ranges from Ex-Disney employee’s to fresh graduates from various game design schools who are eager and intelligent enough to train for AAA work quickly and efficiently! Coming from Major game studio environments and moving to Orlando to start my business was one of the best choices I felt I ever made! If you want to develop an original game and have the right people supporting you as a community and as an individual Orlando is the city for you.”

– Remi Crespo, Co-Founder of Heroic Stand

“As for why my team and I chose Orlando for game development, besides the beautiful weather all year round, is that the people who make up this community are the most friendly, talented, diverse, and helpful. They are a great example of the kind of people who make up this city beautiful. With all of the local colleges including UCF and Full Sail offering game development degree programs the local talent pool continues to grow as we have seen at recent game jams. There are also a lot of amazing musicians and artists coming from these same schools bringing their unique concepts and ideas to game development. I think the only thing Orlando needs to put itself on the map for indie games is a chance.”

– Chris Borden, CEO of Outhouse Games

“It’s been an incredible experience to watch, and be a part of, the games industry here in Orlando. In just the past few years there’s been a transformation – with studios and individuals stepping up and announcing their presence, projects, and support within our community. This entrepreneurial passion is being fueled by our spirit of collaboration, which is bringing together a cross section of people with talents ranging from development, web, design, business, music, art, animation, and every facet in between. With resources like the Melrose Center, local universities, co-working spaces, meetups and events, our city is actively investing in, and pushing this industry forward. It’s amazing to see.”

– Christa Rensel, Co-Host of Indienomicon, Founder & Creative of Kaleidoscope Media

“It’s been great to see the indie game community as well as the resources available to game developers grow here in Orlando.  There are more places for game devs to go for networking, technical and business support than there ever was before.  UCF’s master program in game development, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), even created an accelerator program called FIEA Ventures in 2014 that offers gaming startups up to two years of office space, mentorships and access to all the audio, motion capture and film studios in the building.  As of now it’s only open to FIEA alumni but there are already 3 companies in the program.  FIEA Ventures could provide a great transition for graduates looking to stay in Orlando and start their own game studio instead of potentially leaving town to work for another studio.”

– Jack Henkel, Indienomicon Cofounder and Assistant Director of the UCF Venture Accelerator

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