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Digital media in Utah is a vibrant force behind the state’s economic vitality. Recently, GigaOM, a leading provider of online research for global technology innovators, analyzed data from Google Insights for Search to determine regional interest in technology, they were intrigued to find Utah near the top in several areas. The search interest data gathered by GigaOM for its story on U.S. tech hotspots aligns Utah with the nation’s epicenters of technology in Silicon Valley and Boston.
Nowhere is this growing IT leadership more apparent than in the electronic gaming segment of the industry. Utah’s digital prowess means that for Facebook gamers with sights set on world domination, their time has come courtesy of Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) who recently launched its newly developed social gaming version of RISK: Factions.
The EA adaptation of Hasbro’s popular RISK game has added a new dimension in social gaming which exemplifies the collaborative effort and knowledge base of Utah’s IT industry and next-generation programmers and software developers.
“The dynamic industry-leading digital media business in Utah has provided employment for hundreds of our graduates in dozens of firms creating digital content ranging from film and television to video games and computer modeling,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “The comprehensive IT cluster that houses digital media is a global force providing for thousands of high-paying local jobs at the world’s foremost tech companies.”
“RISK: Factions is an imaginative reinvention of Hasbro’s iconic strategy board game. I believe it is the first major Facebook game to be developed in Salt Lake and we are proud to note that we built it here,” said Jon Dean, vice president and executive producer at EA Interactive. “It reinforces that we have the right creative people here, able to apply their skills and innovate on relevant technology.”
Interactive online games and digital media developed by Utah’s digital media creators such as EA are key long-term contributors to the state’s dynamic Software Development & Information Technology economic cluster, one of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s (GOED) seven targeted economic clusters. Utah’s software and IT cluster features such industry luminaries as Adobe, Oracle and EMC — companies that continually drive innovation in digital technology that makes Utah a competitive force in the industry.
Like EA, other IT giants in Utah such as eBay and IM Flash are committed to expanding their customer base and local presence through new and evolving business models and platforms. EA Salt Lake’s own drive to innovate and stay competitive has produced an impressive suite of popular family titles across all major console and handheld media platforms as well as for mobile and social gaming platforms.
EA’s state-of-the-art, custom-designed Salt Lake City studio that employs a team of designers, artists, programmers, producers and project managers is situated amidst the newly revitalized downtown Salt Lake City, and supports Utah’s own IT and software cluster growth. The technology industry currently employs more than 44,000 people around the State.