With the recent success of companies like Flyclops, Final Form and Cipher Prime, mobile game-making is carving a niche in the city's creative economy. Now the community needs a home-base — enter Nathan Solomon, founder of Philadelphia Game Lab, a combination co-working space and incubator.
“Over the past ten years, with alternative distribution channels, the industry as a whole is much more interested in actual creative stuff,” says Solomon. “Philadelphia's not in a really great position to pull together teams of over a hundred people, but we are in a really good position to pull together people who have technical expertise and creative drive, and want to make their own games.”
The Lab will open its doors at 22nd and Walnut Streets in late March, just weeks before Philly's inaugural Grassroots Game Conference. It will admit small “teams” (usually two to six people) and skilled individuals seeking teams. In addition to benefiting from the networking and support that comes with a game-centric community, teams can better access capital via partnering funders. Opportunities for mentoring and a Quality Assurance (QA) Lab for beta testing are also in the works.
While shrinking startup costs have made the game app industry more accessible, the market is highly competitive. “You don’t need to find that special backer or special publisher anymore,” says Solomon. “At the same time, it's really, really hard to make a good game.”
The Lab will open with four teams and hopes to serve 12 teams total. Solomon says he’s also planning programs with local universities designed to expose students to game making as a vocation.
Source: Nathan Solmon, Philadelphia Game Lab
Writer: Dana Henry