- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Like a lot of Colorado game developers, Megan Fox works independently, coding in the quiet of her home. As the founder of the Glass Bottom Games, she’s spent months wrapping up “Hot Tin Roof,” a film noir-ish 3D computer game starring a box-shaped private eye and her fedora-wearing cat.

But she’s not alone. Literally.

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, the Broomfield resident now has a team of seven artists, designers and animators who work out of their homes from Boulder to Sweden. And according to a new report, she’s part of a growing population of game developers in the state, making Colorado the 10th-largest state for game development, up from 16th five years ago.

“There are more smaller studios now because the industry has changed,” said Fox, who also runs the Colorado Independent Game Developers Association Meetup group. “And large, monolithic studios sometimes aren’t as stable as they used to be, and simply aren’t as necessary.”

Not too long ago, Colorado had a handful of big-name game studios. Sony Online Entertainment Denver, which acquired World Apart Productions in 2006, employed 40 at its peak before shutting down a few years ago. Lego Group, which acquired NetDevil in Louisville, had more than 100 employees when it was shut down in 2011, The Denver Post reported (https://tinyurl.com/pwxmwvc).

The local game industry has had its ups and downs, said Scott Martins, who started Worlds Apart in 1996 and went on to launch Dire Wolf Digital.

“I think there’s some comfort that if a job falls through, I can get a job next door. But Colorado’s probably not quite big enough to be a magnet of its own,” Martins said.

The Entertainment Software Association’s ” Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2014 Report,” says Colorado’s computer and video-game industry is growing. It added $107 million to the state economy between 2009 to 2012. Area companies employ about 800 people, more than double the number from five years ago.

That’s just a smidge of the larger game industry, which employed 42,000 nationwide and contributed $6.2 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, says ESA, the video-game trade association. But it’s enough to rank Colorado as the 10th-largest in game-related employment.

One of the larger game companies in Colorado today is also one of the newest. Backflip Studios was launched by former Yahoo! executive Julian Farrior in 2009. Even with limited experience in gaming, the Backflip team hit it big in the casual mobile-game market with “Paper Toss.”

Backflip quickly found ways to make money with app purchases, paid apps and cross promotions.

“When the iPhone came out, that sort of changed the game for everyone. We took our consumer-facing technology and put it on an iPhone,” Farrior said, “and almost overnight, we had 1 million users.”

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Information from: The Denver Post, https://www.denverpost.com


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