If you thought that cutting-edge game development only exists in large metros such as Seattle or LA, think again!
CapNY has more than two dozen game development companies in Albany, Troy and Saratoga Springs, with new companies springing up in other cities, too.
A Thriving Industry
Digital gaming companies in the Capital Region are thriving. Fantastic programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and other area colleges are producing gaming grads and entrepreneurs every year. Over 450 people worked in the region’s digital gaming cluster in 2020. The numbers are growing each year. Here’s a glimpse at 8 of these super-hot digital gaming companies.
Vicarious Visions, a division of Activision, is the region’s oldest and largest studio. They are one of the leading game development companies in the world. This is the studio behind the gaming industry’s first billion-dollar title: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Vicarious Visions has developed hundreds of games in many genres. Among their projects are: Skylanders, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Spider-Man, and Tony Hawk. The studio recently released the fully remastered version of one of their most popular titles: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2. It was met with substantial critical acclaim.
Velan Ventures was founded in 2016 by Guha and Karthik Bala. (They were also the founders of Vicarious Visions, back in 1991.) They’re firm believers in the power and importance of the Capital Region’s gaming industry boom. The brothers purposefully built their headquarters in downtown Troy. They wanted their employees to be in walking distance to everything the city has to offer. Velan’s first game, published by Nintendo for Nintendo Switch, was the mixed-reality Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. They are in the process of launching a new title that will be published by EA. The new project brings fresh, innovative technology coupled with competitive, online game play.
WB Games NY
WB Games NY is a division of entertainment powerhouse Warner Bros. They are located right around the block from Velan Ventures in Troy. The WBNY studio provides engineering / middleware expertise to support online game play for popular WB titles including Mortal Kombat 2, Injustice 2, and Shadow of War.
1st Playable Productions
This woman-owned studio founded in 2005 specializes in educational games. They are located a block away from WB Games NY in downtown Troy. 1st Playable Owner, Toni Saulnier, is an RPI alumni. Saulnier actively supports and hosts community initiatives such as Teen Game Workshop. 1st Playable’s notable titles include Club Penguin, Cards against Calamity, Cooking Mama and Disney’s Frozen: Olaf’s Quest.
Founded by Brian Corrigan in 2012, the studio is located in Saratoga Springs. They exclusively support “PlayerUnknown’s Battleground” for PUBG. PUBG is among the most popular games in the world. They specialize in game feature design, UI/UX design, Unreal Engine development, and web service development. A true example of the ecosystem’s organic growth, Corrigan got his start at WB Games NY (formerly Agora ).
WolfJaw Studios, founded in 2018, is a block away from Network Next (see below) in downtown Troy. They provide online game services, player engagement and companion services for AAA game publishers. (AAA is a term used for games with the highest development budgets and levels of promotion.) Among their clients are Electronic Arts (EA), Epic, and Santa Monica Studios. Founder Mitch Patterson is an entrepreneur-at-heart. He even had a stint helping start-up companies as the former director of the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY.
This Schenectady-based custom software firm has a burgeoning game development division. They build back end distributed services, integrations with web- and console-based AAA game clients, and disaster solutions, suspicious activity monitoring and other solutions. Jahnel Group is headquartered in the new Mill Artisan District. They are avid supporters of providing pathways into software development careers. Their Forward Motion Development program provides skills training to individuals with an aptitude for the industry.
One of downtown Troy’s newest digital gaming firms is Network Next. They offer a “neutral marketplace” to developers whose games are carried by networks that competitively bid for them. This frees developers from being bound to a single vendor. Company owner Glen Fiedler moved the company from California to Troy, NY, after seeing the rapidly growing potential that the Capital Region’s digital gaming companies cluster offers.