Island game developers look to form their own industry association
'Any sort of resources ... that the smaller studios can get access to is a very positive thing'
After several years without an organized voice for developers, video game studios on P.E.I. are finally looking to establish their own industry association.
More than a dozen developers and industry leaders held a meeting on Wednesday to determine whether to form an association and it was a unanimous yes.
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Other Ocean Group's Deirdra Ayre, the head of operations for the studio behind an upcoming Rick and Morty game, and Creative PEI's Mark Sandiford are leading the charge on forming the association.
It will avoid a lot of time wasted hunting around for information when there can be one place, a network of people you can go to and meet with regularly.— Kathleen Cassidy
Ayre said there's a "very strong mini cluster" of game developers on the Island and a formal association for the hundreds employed would provide studios with "a strong unified voice" as well as raise the profile of the gaming industry.
Sandiford says developers are meeting again in February and they plan to elect executives and decide on whether to implement association dues in the coming weeks.
He also said he hopes the association will be established and running by April.
'A lot we can learn from the larger studios'
Game developers were previously organized under the Interactive Media Alliance, which was later absorbed by ITAP — the Innovation and Technology Association of Prince Edward Island.
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However, ITAP folded in 2016 due to a lack of funding.
Since then the industry has been without an organized voice — although with the unanimous vote at Wednesday's meeting the wait may come to an end within the coming months.
Kathleen Cassidy, co-owner of Queen Bee Games in Charlottetown, said Wednesday was the first time she's been in the same room with some of the developers.
She said what's been missing on P.E.I. since ITAP ended is a "solid network" that developers can use to share information, hoist up each others work and further development the skills of each others employees.
"It will avoid a lot of time wasted hunting around for information when there can be one place, a network of people that you can go to and meet with regularly to keep the industry thriving and growing," she said.
Many small studios like hers scattered across Charlottetown can benefit from an association, she added, to share ideas and resources with other developers in P.E.I.'s "thriving" gaming scene.
"There's a lot that we can learn from the larger studios … any sort of resources, networking building that the smaller studios can get access to is a very positive thing," she said.
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