New York announces grants to create video game hubs

Sandy Kenyon Image
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
New York announces grants to create video game hubs
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Sandy Kenyon has the story

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The recent announcement of New York State grants to create video gaming hubs at local universities has brought a renewed focus to the industry.

The parents of teenagers will not be surprised to learn the video games their kids play are a part of a global industry worth $70 billion a year and $25 billion in the U.S alone. But New York's share of the business is only a tiny fraction of that.

Locally, it lags far behind the west coast, but there's evidence that's changing.

The "Guardians of the Galaxy" were on the big screen at the TriBeCa Film Festival recently, not in a movie, but as a part of a video game.

Julie Menin, Mayor Bill de Blasio's commissioner for media and entertainment, recently announced a grant of $6 million to fund a "virtual reality" lab in the city.

New York state is giving money to NYU, where Professor Frank Lantz's students can earn a degree playing video games.

"We're trying to train the next generation of great game designers," lab supervisor Gwynna Forgham-Thrift said.

Each week, talent meets talent and eats pizza at a "play test."

NYU seniors Elija Richmond and Marisa Lawrence welcome diversity to gaming, saying it's mostly been dominated by white males. But recently, that's changing.

The city's diversity has made the area a center for what's called "indie gaming." It's a term that refers to games created by people outside the existing industry, and the trend away from big budget titles could help these students prosper in the years to come.