HOUSTON - Video games aren't just big fun, they're big business.
“I used to work in the movie industry and I can tell you right now, gaming far exceeds the type of box office numbers you get in movies,” said video game producer and CEO of 6 Foot, Matt Ballesteros.
A group of industry insiders is urging officials from around the city to help make Houston "top dog" in Texas.
“The game industry in Texas is $800 million annually. The cities of Austin and Dallas absolutely decimate Houston when it comes to development. We’re less than $25 million,” said Transmedia Producer Karen Snyder.
But why? Houston has universities graduating digital artists and producers every semester. Why does the talent get funneled westward?
"On government leadership, because they have welcomed and explicitly set out to create a cluster. The corporations, the studios, the governments, the education and the investors working collectively to make an industry thrive,” Snyder suggested.
Now, a plan presented to officials for how the Greater Houston area can become #1 in serious games and #1 in eSports.
It's a time when budgets are tight, but officials are definitely listening.
“The city of Houston is really not providing incentives to this group of individuals that would like to stay in the City of Houston and we’re missing out on the talent,” said Houston City Councilman, Robert Gallegos, District I.
“We take very seriously these type of opportunities that might exist. We want to make sure there’s not that 'brain drain' you hear about,” said Asst. Economic Development Director Phil Wagner with the City of Sugar Land.
It's not only tourism dollars we're talking about with events like gaming competitions, but also jobs. High paying jobs with applications in big oil, medical and more.
With that many points out there to score, it's a game we can't afford to lose.