A legislative panel came to Bellevue City Hall this morning to look at the economic impact of the cyber and video game industry in Washington.
"We are extremely pleased to be hosting this important forum," Bellevue Mayor Grant Degginger said. "Bellevue and the Eastside is one of two centers in the United States for the interactive media industry -- an industry expected to experience dynamic growth in coming years. We look forward to working with the industry as it continues to create jobs and otherwise play a very important role in our economic development."
The panel, called the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations, is made up of six members from the state Senate and six from the House of Representatives. It is charged by state statute to study and review economic development issues with special emphasis on international trade, tourism, investment and industrial development, and to assist the legislature in developing a comprehensive and consistent economic development policy.
During its three-hour meeting the committee heard from industry experts on topics such as industry competitiveness, education and training, research and development and the industry's content rating system for kids. Representatives from enterpriseSeattle, Bungie, the University of Washington and the DigiPen Institute of Technology all made presentations.
The meeting was followed by a tour of Microsoft's ESP Studio on the company's campus in nearby Redmond. The studio focuses on simulation and visualization technologies used in game development, education and training.
"We are very fortunate to be the hotbed for the development and marketing of online and video games in our state," said Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who chairs the panel. "There are at least 150 companies in the Puget Sound region with a core business of game development, one of the biggest concentrations in the country. The purpose of the meeting is to learn more about this exciting industry and assess how its development is an emerging factor for our economy."
"We're excited to have the opportunity to educate legislators on the depth and breadth of the video game industry in Washington state," said Tom Flavin, president and CEO of enterpriseSeattle. "We know from our study conducted in late 2007 that the video game industry is responsible for more than 15,000 jobs at gaming companies or divisions in Washington, with the total number of jobs growing at approximately 33 percent per year since 2004.”
The meeting will air both on Bellevue TV 21 and TVW in the days following the event -- check schedules for listings.
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