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Los Angeles has become one of the hottest spots on the planet for the multifaceted video game industry. And Hollywood is the entertainment capital of the world, playing a large role in bringing this to life.
In the classic film LA Confidential, Sid Hudgens, portrayed in a strong performance by Danny DeVito, sleuths for dirty secrets and dismantles the pristine facades of movie executives and powerful officials with his Hush-Hush tabloid magazine. However, if we asked Sid to do the same in today’s LA, he’d definitely lose some readership (and probably get lost in the city along the way). He’d discover that plenty of movie executives and stars have escaped LA, leaving tons of talented individuals, all of whom have incredible entertainment-based experiences and skills, with an opportunity to enter the video game industry while remaining in La La Land.
For years, Hollywood slowly drove up to this ever-growing fork in the road. With Pixar making bold steps into computer generated graphics (CGI) in the early 1980s, new technologies attracted talented professionals who used simple-looking machines to craft revolutionary virtual spaces. Over time, more CGI animation studios sprang up and the city was abuzz with exciting new projects. Most entertainment jobs eventually became connected to the film industry in one way or another. This situation, however, was soon to change.
As video games began receiving higher production values to meet the growing expectations of gamers around the world, LA’s talented professionals jumped aboard this new entertainment direction. Not only did video games grant these individuals the chance to exercise familiar skills (CGI animation, business management, or motion capture and voice acting) in a booming and lucrative industry, but video games also promised new creative challenges and means for personal expression.
Actors, who once scrambled between one-off TV episode gigs and inconsequential roles in films, suddenly realized that a breakthrough lead in a video game could be a career-saving move. You fondly remember Trevor Phillips from GTA 5, right? Steven Ogg, the actor who portrayed this beloved character, has since landed roles in AMC’s The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul as well as HBO’s Westworld. Remember John Marston from Red Dead Redemption? Rob Wiethoff’s performance as the conflicted former outlaw is considered one of the strongest of his career!
And with many other success stories raining down upon the video game industry, Los Angeles, a desert land rich with opportunity, became a field of flowers, sprouting up new video game studios and companies ready to leave their mark on the world. Sony Santa Monica, Naughty Dog, and Respawn Entertainment are just a few of the powerhouses developing the most technically advanced video game projects in the world. This staggering growth in the number of developers and producers within the city in turn helped to attract big business to the City of Angels. And with big business came big events, covering the large market of interactive entertainment.
E3 Los Angeles
E3, the world’s premier event for computer, video, and mobile games and related products, will once again be held in the Los Angeles Convention Center this year. Industry titans and newcomers alike connect to do business and greet their supportive fans in this pivotal event unfolding from June 13-15.
Another major event we’re thrilled about is LA Games Conference. Held on May 10 in the iconic W Hollywood hotel, LA Games Conference brings influential decision makers from the digital entertainment industry together to share their ideas about the future of games and connected entertainment. Insights on the rising popularity of VR and AR games and applications, innovative visualization techniques, clever monetization solutions, and their respective emerging marketplaces will be of interest to all in the video game industry.
For those in the city hoping to meet more regularly, Angelenos can join LA Unity, International Game Developers Association Los Angeles, or GameDevDrinkUp. LA Unity is a group of developers, producers, and artists within the City of Angels who are simply interested in learning or are professionally using the Unity3D platform. The group aims to impart knowledge, help the eager learn, and create an interactive community where questions about Unity can easily be answered. Encompassing a wider area, IGDA LA represents game developers in the Greater Los Angeles area, and hosts monthly lectures and social meetups to foster the Los Angeles game developer community. Lastly, GameDevDrinkUp is a worldwide group that meets in different cities, including LA, once a month to network and socialize. The Los Angeles chapter generally meets at Busby’s West in Santa Monica.
Xsolla is happy to work in the thriving video game industry during this exciting time and in this amazing place. LA is truly the best environment for building games today, and we wouldn’t change it—not for the world!