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Chapter Spotlight - IGDA Austin

Posted By Administration , Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Founded more than twenty years ago, the Austin Chapter of the IGDA has deep roots in Central Texas.  As one of the top locations for game development in the world, Austin boasts a world-class community of developers across a wide range of game types and styles.  From major studios like Electronic Arts to more than 100 indie studios, Austin is an amazing place to live and create. 

The Austin Chapter's mission is to "help great game developers make great game companies."  The mission comes from our belief that the biggest challenge facing game developers is not designing or building a game, but successfully creating and operating the business, economic and legal infrastructure needed for a game company.  Why is this such a big deal?  We've all heard too many horror stories of skilled designers, artists and developers making a terrific game, but ultimately having to close up shop because they didn't know how to turn their passion into a living.  Faced with this, we've focused on monthly educational events that provide critical information that's often overlooked in game development and art education. 

For example, some of our major events (more than 50 with over 200 speakers and panelists since 2015; all free to attend) have included:

  • "Paying Your Mortgage With An Indie Game" - a panel of five successful indie devs, ranging from a solo who worked from coffees shops to a VR developer that had raised $4MM in venture capital, providing critical advice to a packed house.
  • "Strategic Planning Workshop" - taught by a local executive management consulting firm, over the workshop's two hours the facilitator challenged indie game attendees with difficult questions related to customer outreach, financial planning and staffing.  Incredibly eye-opening!
  • "Important Legal Docs for Game Devs" - attorneys from an AMLAW 200 law firm walked attendees through the five most important legal documents for game developers, and then gave digital copies of those documents away!  That was a $3,000 savings for everyone who came.

With all our events and activities, our goal is to "showcase new voices" regardless of where they can be found.  In the fast-changing game industry, expertise can be found everywhere regardless of age or background, and we're excited to bring these voices to the fore (nearly half of our speakers have been women!).

Amidst these monthly training programs, we are also pleased to leverage a strong relationship with SXSW Conference to have a presence in the three-day gaming expo.  At our booth, we'll host indie game devs, artists and other game industry creatives who want to showcase their work or get feedback from attendees, but aren't ready to spend thousands of dollars for a solo booth.  Over the past four years, we've showcased more than 100 game studios!   All for free.  We've also provided mentors, judges and the master of ceremonies for the SXSW Gaming Pitch Competition for the past two years.  This year's winner walked away with a $2,000 prize AND a publishing deal from one of the judges.  

Each year we also host an event to celebrate our unique gaming culture, the Austin Gaming Showcase.  The Showcase allows indie (and not so indie) game developers from Central Texas and beyond to participate in a gaming expo focused entirely on us!  With over 800 attendees last year and entirely funded by outside sponsors, the Showcase has become the "not to miss" Austin gaming event.

We also maintain a close relationship with the City of Austin, routinely representing the industry at events across the metropolitan area.  In 2017, we represented the game industry at an Austin / US Department of State event entitled the "American Competitiveness Exchange" where leaders from Latin America visit US tech hubs to learn more about the policies that cause creativity to thrive.  Separately, we've also worked with the State of Texas, putting on a game-centric panel at the 2018 "Texas-EU" Summit led by the University of Texas and the governor's office.

We're thrilled to continue to support the video game industry of Central Texas and are looking forward to many more years to come.

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