November 11, 2014

Report: Mass. video-game industry growing

As the video game industry enjoys growth across the United States, Massachusetts is reaping some of those benefits, according to a national trade group, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

In a new study, Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2014 Report, the ESA said video game-related businesses in the Bay State are seeing an annual growth rate of about 8 percent, contributing close to $432 million to the Massachusetts economy.

"The high-energy, high-tech video game industry is rapidly producing some of the most valuable jobs in Massachusetts," Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, said in a statement. "Our industry is one of the nation's fastest growing economic sectors and represents tens of thousands of lucrative career opportunities for well-educated people in Massachusetts."

The report also said industry compensation grew 13 percent between 2009 and 2012, from $221.4 million to $250.7 million, although the number of jobs fell slightly from 1,295 to 1,258.

Nonetheless, Massachusetts is the nation's fifth-largest employer of video game industry personnel, just ahead of more populous states, Florida and Illinois, the ESA said. Average annual compensation in Massachusetts is $93,174, the report noted.

"Given the talent we have coming through our colleges and universities, the potential for growth (in the digital games industry) is high, especially in Central Massachusetts," said Timothy Loew, executive director of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute, at Becker College in Worcester, in an emailed statement. Becker, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Fitchburg State University all have video game development programs as part of their curricula.

The ESA added that video game companies provided more than $226 million in compensation to direct and indirect Massachusetts employees in 2012.

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