Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Video games - the key to Pittsburgh's future?

Yesterday I wrote a story that appeared in today's paper, about a visit to Pittsburgh by Mike Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association.

Squished for space, I left out stuff I would have liked to have included, like the fact that from 2003 through 2006, the video game industry grew at 17 percent a year, while the U.S. economy grew at about 4 percent a year.

Or Mr. Gallagher saying that the way video game technology is advancing, the day may come when animated sportscasters are doing play-by-play analyses of Steelers games - from Disneyland.

He'll be back in about 10 days to speak at Carnegie Mellon University, which is bidding fair to become a hub for creative technology. I may go to see him.

His presentation to the Economic Club, while stuffed with statistics, was not academic; it was an passionate exhortation for Pittsburgh and Pennyslvania to get in on the game, so to speak, by attracting videogame developers to the region.

I could see videogame developers setting up shop in Homewood. John Wallace emailed me today to say that a program he is working on for Homewood students would help them to move in that very direction. And that an average industry salary of $92,300 could provide a pretty good carrot.

The thing about vacancy is that it can be filled with anything. Why can not Homewood's vacancy be filled with videogame developers? And filmmakers? And writers? And sculptors and painters? Along with technicians, attorneys, and commodities traders?

I just now discovered the website for a conference coming up next month in Detroit, "Creative Cities Summit 2.0." My first thought is that I want to go.

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