Video Games Add $2 Billion to Massachusetts Economy, Tech Group Says

Massachusetts “digital gaming” companies have total revenues exceeding $2 billion, according to a survey being released today by the Mass Technology Leadership Council. And those companies are hiring aggressively, with plans to increase their head counts by an average of 20 percent in 2009, the survey found.

The gaming industry employs roughly 1,200 people across the state, in disciplines like software engineering, digital art, game design, and quality assurance, according to MassTLC—an industry-sponsored association that promotes technology entrepreneurship. Only 8 percent of the companies the association surveyed are public, meaning that most of the ferment in the gaming industry is happening within venture-funded companies (8 percent) or smaller angel-funded or privately funded companies (79 percent).

MassTLC says it collected the survey data between January and June from more than 30 Massachusetts gaming companies, including 38 Studios, GamerDNA, Harmonix Music Systems, Quick Hit, Rockstar New England, Turbine, and WorldWinner. The association says it will use grant money awarded to UMass Boston by the UMass President’s Creative Economy Initiatives Fund to continue its research and “take a deeper dive into the impact of the industry on the Massachusetts economy,” in the words of today’s announcement.

“The digital gaming industry is on fire in Massachusetts,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said in the announcement. “I am committed to supporting this and other creative economy industries, for the job opportunities they create and for what they do to elevate Massachusetts’ strengths as a center of technology innovation.”

Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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  • Miramon

    I am a little surprised at 1,200 people generating $2 billion in the gaming industry.

    Let’s be generous and say the average game company has a loaded headcount cost of $150,000 (probably less in many places).

    1,200 x $150,000 works out to only $180 million.

    Any kind of profit is gratifying in the game industry, much less such an awesome rate of return. Which glorious companies in particular are making so much money — over ten times their costs?