Organization of local gaming companies says Austin is still the #3 center of game development in the U.S.
Although EA's Origin studio was largely dismantled a couple of years ago, the giant publisher finally cleaned up the remnants yesterday, according to many online reports. The loss of a once prestigious developer might be seen as a blow to the Austin game development community, which is trying to establish itself as a friendly home to new businesses, but the Austin Game Initiative is hoping to move on and continue touting the city's benefits. Here is the organization's official statement:
AUSTIN, Texas, February 25, 2004 - According to published reports Electronic Arts' Origin Systems division is expected to inform its employees today that the company will be closing Origin and relocating its operations to California sometime in the near future. While the Austin game development community is obviously disappointed by the EA's decision, the Austin region will continue to thrive as the 3rd largest hub of game development activity in the United States, with more than 50 companies in the local area making major contributions to the game industry, including game development, publishing, tools, middleware, chips and hardware.
"The Austin game development community is really an extended family in many ways. Past members of the Origin team have have gone on to create a number of powerful local studios in their own rights," said Christopher Sherman, Executive Director of the Austin Game Initiative (AGI). "And there is every expectation that the talented members of the Origin that do opt to remain in Austin will be snapped up by existing studios in the region or may once again spawn a new crop of studios here locally. The subject of EA's plans came up at the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) local chapter meeting yesterday evening and the mood was very upbeat with attendees being very supportive. With so much talent expected to be available several local studio heads have indicated they are now evaluating accelerating their hiring plans," Sherman said.
"With a compelling cost of living and a powerful creative community that includes games, music, movies and technology Austin is primed to continue to thrive as a leader in interactive entertainment software and hardware," said Sherman. Industry leaders in the area include more than 35 game studios producing both top hit franchises and original titles. Nintendo, Microsoft, Motorola, Dell, Criterion Software, Sony Online Entertainment and dozens of others maintain offices in the region. A list of game companies in Austin can be found at http://www.austingame.com/austin/companies.html
About the Austin Game Initiative
The Austin Game Initiative (AGI) is chartered with the growth of the computer and video game industry in Austin, Texas, thereby increasing its overall contribution to the economic development of the region. Austin is the # 3 location in the U.S. for game development. The AGI is dedicated to serving the needs of companies involved in producing interactive entertainment software and hardware for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers and the Internet. We are focused on assisting local interactive entertainment companies in growing their businesses and recruiting additional interactive entertainment companies, entrepreneurs and talent to Austin. The AGI produces The Austin Game Conference which will take place September 9-10, 2004. More information about the Austin Game Initiative can be found at http://www.AustinGame.com .