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Entrepreneurial Game Studio

December 3, 2014

Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio (EGS), a learning lab where young gamers hone their design and business skills, recently received  generous support from a Discovered and Developed in PA grant (D2PA) from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Through a consortium that will bring together educational and industry professionals to fuel the interactive media industry in the state, Drexel will share the $750,000 grant with Harrisburg University and Carnegie Mellon University. Housed in the ExCITe Center, EGS was founded two years ago by Westphal Game Art & Production professor Dr. Frank Lee as a place where undergraduate students could grow as game developers and entrepreneurs. This grant, as Professor Lee explains, will help EGS fulfill that mission. “Students will be able to learn from both their failures and successes, and it is my hope that upon graduation they have both the tools and experiences they need to join and lead the game design industry,” he said.

Studio members form their own small companies, which are real LLCs, to develop mobile games. The D2PA funds will support early stage game development including the use of professional design software, development workshops, business training, mentoring and a small incubator fund to help launch apps into the marketplace. “We’ll give them the tools, training and support to get there—but they need to bring the vision and the drive,” Professor Lee said.

The goal for EGS participants is to produce a finished mobile app for the App Store in a nine-month period. Students give progress presentations to the entire lab every three to four weeks, discussing what they’ve accomplished, the challenges they’ve faced and how they overcame them. The presentations are geared toward teaching young entrepreneurs to present pitches to real-life funders. The Studio published its first game last spring, Galactikitties for iOS and Android, which has sold 500 copies and has directed a small portion of the proceeds to the SPCA. Last week the Studio released Alchemia for Android, and there are currently eight incubator teams developing games that will ship in late spring of 2015.

The Entrepreneurial Game Studio is currently seeking motivated and talented students with a passion for videogame development. The lab has room for students from diverse fields, including, but not limited to programmers, writers, musicians, visual artists, audio engineers, storytellers and business entrepreneurs. Click here for more information and to submit an application, due by midnight on December 12.

“The idea is that students build games that are polished and will form the basis for a fruitful career,” said Arianna Gass, EGS program manager. Game Art & Production senior Travis Chandler said, “This has pushed me to actually publish a game, which is something that every professor has said we should do to launch a successful career when we graduate.” Chandler is a member of Sweet Roll Studios, the company that developed Galactikitties.

The Discovered in PA grant is intended to grow the high-tech sector of digital entertainment and video gaming in the state. The support comes at an opportunistic moment in Philadelphia’s game design industry which has grown rapidly in recent years, partially as a result of game design programs at local universities, including Drexel’s, with our programs ranked as fourth in the nation (undergraduate) and sixth in the nation (graduate) by The Princeton Review.

News of EGS’ receipt of the grant was recently covered in Philadelphia Business Journal, Philadelphia Magazine, Technically Philly, the Metro, and Gamasutra