Local News

Wake Launches Campaign to Lure Video-Gaming Industry

Posted November 19, 2007 6:56 p.m. EST
Updated November 20, 2007 6:54 a.m. EST

— Wake County has launched a new marketing campaign targeted at the video-gaming industry in an effort to get more companies to move to the area, develop software and create jobs.

"This is the hub worldwide for making engine technology for games, which a lot of people don't even know," said Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, one of more than 30 gaming businesses in the Triangle.

Capps said the video-gaming industry is bigger than the move industry for box office sales.

That's why Wake County Economic Development hopes its new marketing campaign can get companies to focus on Raleigh. Its target is serious gaming, a bit different than the entertainment side, Executive Director Kenneth Atkins said.

"Serious games use the same technology, the simulation, and in many cases the 3-D interactive components for training purposes," he said.

One of the selling points for the campaign is the area schools.

For example, Wake Technical Community College has a new two-year associate's degree in the field. Teachers say the program is successful and that they are having trouble finding enough space.

"We started with 50-some students for 2006," said Dr. Kai Wang, who serves as the department head for the college's gaming technology program. "Now, we have close to 200 students in our program."

Those students go out and get jobs in an industry that is hurting for qualified candidates.

And with the prospect of getting more companies and creating more jobs, the outlook for gaming is getting serious.

The gaming industry also has support at the state level. The House of Representatives has a bill that would give tax credits to companies that produce digital games.