NEW YORK NOW – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer toured video game developer Velan Studios in the Capital Region Tuesday afternoon as a part of an effort to promote federal investment in the video game industry, and the tech industry as a whole.
Schumer is calling for $750,000 in grant funding for the “Game On” video game accelerator program, which would invest money in game development and other areas.
Accelerator programs are a form of infrastructure that facilitates startups through several avenues, such as education and workforce development. Schumer claimed the program would create 350 jobs, and could lead to Troy becoming the worldwide hub for the gaming industry.
“Gaming is one of the hottest, and fastest growing industries and companies close to home,” Schumer said. “More people do video games than watch movies. Look at Hollywood. We can become the Hollywood of gaming.”
Velan Studios is known for games such as Mario Kart Live and Knockout City. Knockout City is a dodgeball-based game that just launched less than two weeks ago, and already has more than two million players, according to Schumer.
Velan Co-founder Guha Bala has been developing games with his brother Karthik since the mid-90’s, and said the potential for the industry is clear.
“We will never be a cost leader in North America, we’ll never have the lowest cost jobs. We have to invest in high-paying jobs that are sustainable, and ecosystems to sustain them,” Bala said. “That’s what the Game On Accelerator is about.”
That comes a little over a month after Schumer was at GlobalFoundries in Malta to push the Endless Frontier Act, which would invest $100 billion in pure and applied research on semiconductor high-end technology.
Schumer also said his April visit to GlobalFoundries in Malta was somewhat related to this week’s stop in the Capital Region.
Creating federal support for microchip production is a part of the larger ecosystem that will make the Capital Region a major technology hub long-term, Schumer said.
In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Schumer said that a decades-long record of major gaming titles being developed at least partially in this region, shows that the area is worth investing in.
Those titles include help with development of Candy Crush, Guitar hero, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Fortnite, among others.