Sunday, January 29

Maryland and The Gaming Industry

Undoubtedly video games and the accompanying e-sports industry have become a profitable and interesting proposition for generating revenue. Private companies, developers, investors, and even the government itself started looking at these opportunities in a different light since it surpassed the cinema industry as the most valuable entertainment area. It was then a matter of time before the state of Maryland attempted to revitalize its involvement with video games.

Maryland as a state has deep roots with video games, the earliest developers and titles can be traced all the way back to 1982. At a point in time, the state was showing great promise and even had a large number of employed citizens that worked in the video game industry, studies estimate around 32,000 people worked with games at one point. A major course was dedicated to the art form at Maryland Institute College of Art, and a reputation started to form around the state.

In 2010, things didn’t seem to be going swiftly in Maryland, as the state had a considerable number of studios shutting down, or relocating. Most of the hardships endured at the time were attributed to the new form of mobile gaming that was becoming popular. Eventually, even traditional, and award-winning companies would meet a dire fate. Fortunately, these events opened up opportunities for new endeavors and Maryland started to reshape itself to embrace the culture.

Years later in 2016, Maryland would become home to indie award-winning companies like Firaxis Studio, which was a subsidiary of 2K, Pure Band Studios who worked with Riot, the creators of League of Legends and other famous start-ups such as the now-famous Discord. The talent and success of those companies brought Maryland back into the scene, and the state gained a reputation as a new innovation hub for game developers, and start-ups to reside.

In the last couple of years, that success has continued and economic results associated with the industry have grown. Mobile game developers and low entry barriers are among the motives for Maryland to be such an attractive place, coupled with a low cost of living, and now a community of peers, the state shows promise. The government of Maryland would be responsible for advancing and making itself even more attractive and connected to the industry in 2019.

Gaming has grown exponentially, and astronomically in comparison to other venues of entertainment, and a fair share of those results came from adjacent ventures regarding e-sports. In 2019, Maryland would approve the eSports Act (House Bill 48), which would encompass games and related activities as sports. This bill would not only allow betting but also create multiple opportunities for eSport tournaments to be hosted on the state, yet the most important part would be the recognition that prize money and awards could be paid out.

With great companies, a flourishing culture, support from the government, and an amazing community of professionals, Maryland is looking like a solid alternative to more saturated places like Texas, California, and Florida. The recognition from colleges and society as a whole that this industry can yield great returns to the state the future is looking good for Maryland.

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