Video Gaming has come a long way since Atari was launched in the 1970s and later when the industry began migrating from video arcades to home computers—remember the Commodore and Tandy computers. A guy named Steve Jobs was selling Apple computers out of his parents’ garage. I’ll bet many Santa Clauses in this club remember scrambling in the next decade to find copies of Frogger, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders to put under Christmas trees and in stockings.
Development of video games has become big business, bigger even than the movie industry. Gaming is something on the order of $30 billion a year. Silicon Valley leads the pack but the Triangle area has emerged as one of the top ten areas—with 30 video game studios and companies—ranking somewhere around fifth or sixth in the country.
Joystick Labs, located in the American Tobacco facilities, plays an important role mentoring and fostering emerging video game developers who have great ideas but little business experience and no money. Joystick’s Managing Director John Austin and co-founder Glen Caplan gave us a fascinating overview of their operation and the video game industry. For most of us, their presentation was something of an eye-opener. They were not preaching to the choir. A show of hands revealed few video gamers in our midst except of course for a small number of younger, more “with it” members. However, a later show of hands revealed that many club members reticent to admit game playing confessed to being avid fans of “Angry Birds,” a game ap on their Iphones. [Read more…]