Why Indiana Is a Hotbed for Games Developers

Whenever you broach the subject of tech hot spots in the US, you hear the usual answers. People reel off locations such as Austin, San Jose, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Charlotte, Atlanta, and a few others. You’ll rarely hear any Indiana city in the mix, or the state itself ever mentioned.

However, the reality is that Indianapolis’ digital service sector has doubled in size since 2010. Indiana’s tech companies produce all kinds of digital products, and when sports betting became legal in the state, some even created sportsbook apps. You can view them all here. That said, a major zone of focus has always been game development, leading many to pivot into that sphere on their quest to succeed.

Why Has Indiana Become a Tech Magnet?

Before setting out on a new endeavor, it is always encouraging to hear about previous stories of similar triumphs. They make the dream seem more feasible. Such examples in Indiana are Interactive Intelligence and ExactTarget. The first is a cloud computing company, while the latter is a provider of on-demand email marketing software solutions.

The state boasts an eager and well-trained workforce, with a stream of talent originating from Purdue University, Indiana University, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. It offers those in the sector more affordable living compared to the East and West coasts and a less expensive environment in which to run a business. The cost of running a 500-person company in Indianapolis is $32 million per year while operating the same-sized company in California would cost you $55 million.

The Silicon Valley of the Midwest

According to a report from CompTIA, a trade association. Indiana’s information technology employment added more than 2,500 new jobs in 2019, a 1.4% increase from 2018. In 2017, Indianapolis ranked fourth in technology job growth among all US cities. The analysis also points out that many of these jobs are in coastal centers and established hubs, and not in downtown office towers.

The tech labor pool in the state has been growing from year to year. In 2013-2014 it grew by 25%, and for 2015-2016 it expanded by 28%. In 2017, tech investments hit $235 million, and in 2019, 62 Indiana tech companies announced grant funding, M&A deals, VC investments, debt financing, and private equity for investments of $358 million. Two-thirds of investors believe that investment opportunities will only grow.

Indiana Game Developers

Like we mentioned in the intro, Indiana, and especially Indianapolis is home to more than a few game developers. Ones that create games themselves or outsource their ideas and designs to others. A popular such company is Re-Logic, an independent developer best known for its 2D sandbox adventure game – Terraria. Basilisk Games is another established name known for its commercially successful RPG trilogy, Eschalon. Other reputable such companies include Plow Games, Tethys Interactive, CrossCut Games, FreeHold Games, and Studio Cypher. Most of these have been around for at least a few years, with CrossCut Games, creating games since the early 1980s under the name Commonwealth Software.

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