Washington state’s thriving interactive media industry is taking center stage at the Immerse Summit today in Bellevue. Washington Interactive Network (WIN) announced today that the number of companies in interactive entertainment and development has increase by over 180 percent since 2007, now reaching more than 420 companies with almost 40 companies in the burgeoning sub-cluster of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Overall, the local industry supports almost $28 billion in revenue throughout the state and $7.6 billion in labor income.
Virtual and augmented reality are proliferating among all segments of the game industry. The release of Pokémon Go has been one of the largest breakthroughs of augmented reality into the casual game market and the social medial market. Technology like the HoloLens generate opportunities for AR and VR in the core game market
Washington state and the Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue area is home to industry giants like Microsoft XBox, Valve, Nintendo and Bungie, and it also hosts a vibrant community of game developers that are integral to this industry.
“Because of our deep talent pool in video game development, the Puget Sound region has become a center of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed realty development” said Kristina Hudson, executive director of WIN. “This is still a very young sub-cluster of the industry. Quite a lot of investment dollars are flowing to VR/AR/MXR development and our game developers are moving into the space.”
According to the study, Washington’s interactive media firms employed an estimated 20,800 people working in interactive media, both at large multi-purpose firms and at small to mid-size firms. An additional 2,400 freelancers work in interactive media as well.
“Another interesting find in this study is the proliferation of interactive media into the entertainment industry overall,” said Hudson. “The need to hire experts in such fields as cinematography is increasing in order to create realistic, virtual environments.”
Partnered with WIN is OneRedmond, a public private partnership dedicated to ensuring that employers based in Redmond have access to a skilled, technology savvy workforce while encouraging smaller businesses to grow and recruiting new firms to the region. The City of Redmond, the City of Bellevue, the City of Kirkland and the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County sponsored this study. Like Redmond, the cities of Bellevue and Kirkland also stands at the heart of the region’s interactive and gaming community with companies that have produced some of the industry’s most popular and well-known games and products.