An alliance of video game developers trying to brand Madison as a gaming industry hotspot is going statewide.
The Madison Games Alliance is now the Wisconsin Games Alliance, although its leadership claims that functionally, nothing is different. The two-year-old network remains a loose association of studios and independent developers, primarily in Dane County, strategizing to attract talent and bring attention to the area.
Jennifer Javornik, executive director of the Wisconsin Games Alliance and head of sales for Madison's Filament Games, said the rebranding “makes strategic sense.” She said a shared goal between the alliance and the Madison Region Economic Partnership — the area’s primary job creation agency and a major partner of the alliance— has always been to create a “statewide center of excellence.”
Javornik also said that the change better reflects the group’s makeup. The alliance's membership is mostly local, featuring major studios like Human Head and Raven Software. However, meetups and happy hours have attracted developers from locations like the Wisconsin Dells and Green Bay.
The name change does shift emphasis away from the immediate area, but Javornik said that the case the alliance will make for “Why Wisconsin?” is similar to “Why Madison?”
“There are people with strong work ethic. We’re big enough where we can compete at a global level. Our talent is on par with what’s going on with the rest of the world,” said Javornik. “That’s not just true for game studios in Madison. It’s also true for game studios in Milwaukee, and game studios in Green Bay.”
Javornik noted that the statewide focus also brings two of the state’s biggest schools for game designers and developers, UW Stout and Whitewater, within the group's domain.
The group is still working on its inaugural game developers conference, named “M-Dev,” which will take place at the Alliant Energy Center in the fall.