ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gaming is massively expanding in the Capital Region, according to the Center for Economic Growth (CEG). A new survey by CEG shows collegiate esports leagues, as well as digital gaming companies, are continuing to emerge in the area.

“With the proliferation of AI, simulation, and game application to industries well beyond games purely as entertainment, our Capital Region Digital Gaming cluster is poised for additional dynamic growth as we emerge from the pandemic,” said CEG President and CEO Mark Eagan.

The Capital Region has seven large digital gaming studios and 17 independent studios. Among the large studios, there are 460 employees, which is a 5.5% increase over the past year. The survey says there are 53 workers at the independent studios, for an overall total of 513 workers. Eleven studios reported hiring plans for the next year.

Large studios

  • Blizzard Entertainment in Albany. The studio launched “Diablo II: Resurrected” in 2021 and will continue development on various games in 2022, including “Diablo II: Resurrected” and “Diablo IV.”
  • Velan Studios in Troy. The studio launched “Knockout City” in 2021. Over the next year, Velan plans to make several “huge” announcements.
  • PUBG MadGlory in Saratoga Springs. The company released “PUBG” as a free to play game in January 2022.
  • Warner Bros. Games in Troy.
  • 1st Playable Productions in Troy. In the last 12 months, the company completed a to-be-announced game, and completed a game for a National Institutes of Health study.
  • Wolfjaw Studios in Troy. The company expects to increase in size by at least 75% over the next year.
  • Jahnel Group in Schenectady. Over the last year, the company earned $16 million in revenue and is serving six different studios with projects. 

Independent studios

  • Rushdown Studios in Ballston Spa. The studio was formed in October 2021 and is working on several different games.
  • Askiisoft in Delmar. The company launched “Katana ZERO” in October 2020, which reached 40,000 Steam reviews.
  • Trojan Duck Games in Troy. The Renselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) startup completed a playable internal build of its game, “Super Upbeat,” over the last year.
  • Queenship in Troy. The studio received a grant from the Arts Center of the Capital Region to continue their work on “The Shadowcross: A Tale of Inner Darkness.”
  • Clockworks Games in Troy. The studio produces Unity and Oculus assets, games, and tutorials.
  • CAGE studios. The company released “Sherwood Extreme” in 2021.
  • DANG! in Troy. The company launched “Boomerang X” in 2021 on Nintendo Switch and PC.
  • ToothPike in Niskayuna. The studio released “Load Roll Die” on Steam in October 2021.
  • Catapult Games in Schenectady. The studio is scheduled to launch “VRPD,” a virtual reality de-escalation training, as an official police training tool in the next year.
  • Aestronauts in Troy. The studio developed and released “Tempo,” a rhythm game that includes an audiovisual arcade experience to test speed and accuracy, within the past year.
  • Nonage in Clifton Park. In 2021, the studio released “PowerBots Retro” on Steam.
  • Superset Interactive in Troy. The studio is developing “Sky of Embers,” an episodic turn-based strategy game.
  • RnD’s Nuts in Albany. The studio released its demo of “Rerolling Knights” in January 2022 and plans to fully release the game on mobile and Steam.
  • (Just) Jordan in Troy. The studio released its demo of “You Are NOT Bunnygirl,” a role-playing game about self-care and robots, in February 2022.

In addition to digital gaming studios, the Capital Region has 352 students enrolled in game development programs. There are also 79 students enrolled in Capital Region BOCES’ two-year sequence in Game Design and Implementation. About 346 students are playing in national collegiate esports leagues.

“We’ve always enjoyed growing our studio in the Capital Region not only because it’s where many of us grew up and feel at home, but because we can attract the best talent in the industry from local colleges and universities. The benefits of the quality of life for our team and cost of living, enjoying four seasons a year, and the comradery in the growing creative and technology industries here make operating our game studio in the Capital District a win-win,” said PUBG Madglory Director of Operations Clarke Foley.

UAlbany is planning to build a 4,000-square-foot facility featuring 48 gaming PCs, 18 consoles, and a broadcasting and media creation room. The facility is scheduled to open in fall 2023. RPI and Siena College are planning new or upgraded esports facilities. Russell Sage College’s opened a new esports arena last fall. The SUNY schools in the area, which include UAlbany, SUNY Adirondack, SUNY Schenectady, Columbia-Greene Community College, and Hudson Valley Community College, compete in the SUNY Esports league.

“There are many advantages including the fact that we are close to Montreal, a big advantage for upstate students. There is a new and expanding gaming hub right here in the Capital Region, one whose job prospects continue to look strong,” said Eileen Abrahams, SUNY Schenectady’s Dean of the Division of Liberal Arts.

HV Gamer Con is also returning to the Albany Capital Center on March 19 and March 20. This will be the first in-person Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament at the Center since 2019.