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Gamer World Famous People Start New Orleans Studios | Business News

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New Orleans’ up-and-coming digital gaming sector is set for a big boost, with one of the industry’s most renowned entrepreneurs promising at least 75 local jobs to pay at least $ 100,000 each year. We are starting a new studio in the city.

Digital games aren’t as big as Jeff Strain, who has founded and sold two acclaimed gamer companies over the last two decades and launched their latest studio, Possibility Space, on Poidras Street in the Central Business District.

The move is GNI Inc, an economic development agency that has been enthusiastic about Seattle-based Strain for over five years. And Louisiana Economic Development coup, aimed at attracting Seattle-based “anchor” start-ups. Map of the gamer industry.

New Orleans technology company TurboSquid acquired by Shutterstock for $ 75 million

Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Regional Economic Development Agency Greater New Orleans, Inc., added the Possibility Space Studio to legally claim Greater New Orleans as one of America’s leading video game development hubs. became.

Games have become a major target for states and regions because of their size and growth rate, as well as their potential to create jobs for high-paying “knowledge industries.” Already, a few gamers or gamer-related companies are well established, including TurboSquid, an image database startup that sold for $ 75 million earlier this year. There are also virtual reality companies Stryker VR, inXile Entertainment, High Voltage Software, Testronic, and Electronic Arts at Baton Rouge.

In a prepared statement, Governor John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that Strain’s new company marked a step change in its local interactive entertainment cluster. “If industry innovators such as Jeff Strain take the lead, the project could become a game changer for video game development in Louisiana,” Edwards said.

Originally from Temple, Texas, Strain has been part of the gamer industry since joining Blizzard Entertainment, based in Irvine, California, in the mid-1990s. He then became the lead developer for the company’s highly successful World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo series.

After moving north to Seattle in 2000, Strain co-founded ArenaNet to produce another successful series, Guild Wars. He sold the company to NCsoft in 2008 and founded another Seattle-based company, Undead Labs. It is the creator of the State of Decay and was sold to Microsoft in 2018.

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According to Strain, the gaming industry, which is already larger than the combined television and filmmaking industry, is still a fast-growing entertainment sector. “It’s not only a $ 200 billion global industry, but it’s grown by more than 10% year-on-year and is one of the prosperous industries during the pandemic,” he said.

It’s also a culturally changing industry that reflects widespread changes in society, and Strain said it will be the focus of development in New Orleans studios.

“What we’re seeing right now is the serious cultural change being driven by young millennials and Gen Z. I hear people openly accept the idea of ​​wanting to play games that make them feel good. It’s fascinating to me, “says Strain.

The pandemic amplifies the negative tendencies caused by politics and social media, creating a longing for more active social interactions, Strain said. “There is so much junk in the world today, and we’re just being attacked by it,” he said. “People want to come out [a gaming experience] Feeling joy and joy, which has caused a lot of controversy in the industry today. “

What that really means is a shift from domination of games full of explosions, headshots and zombies (the ones that made Strain a huge success) to the side of building a world like those found in games like Minecraft. ..

“We focus on building games based on what we call a profound human experience, a game with meaningful human interactions,” says Strain.

Strain has also recently focused on real-world cultural changes in the gaming world. It has a long-standing reputation for misogyny and disturbing misogyny by some employees.

In an open letter in July, Strain called on his employees to unite after the toxic workplace of former employer Blizzard was revealed. During his 25 years in the industry, he “showed how abusive culture propagates and self-amplifies over time. How” hardcore gamers only “is the smoke screen of” broculture. ” Was shown. “

This is a developing story. Check for updates.

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