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Inaugural Grassroots Game Conference targets Philly's low score for game developers

There's a new player in town. The Grassroots Game Conference, which comprises over 18 events within Philly Tech Week, is an outgrowth of Philadelphia Game Lab. Nathan Solomon, who leads both the lab and the conference, says, "From a hard numbers perspective, Philadelphia probably has the lowest per-capita number of professional game developers for a city its size in North America. At the same time, though, Philadelphia is a great place for creative and technical initiatives, and I think there's a valid argument that we're uniquely strong in grassroots initiatives here, especially those for social or creative good."
Solomon targets those interested in exploring game creation, or using it for specific purposes, with events planned every day from April 23 to 29 in Center City, some of which involve high profile visitors. On Monday, April 23, representatives from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Smithsonian will participate in a Panel on Games as Art; Games and Gamification for Non-Profits will take place on Tuesday April 24 at the University of the Arts; and on Friday, Collision of Music and Games is a free event that brings two brilliant thinkers together, one from academics and the other from commercial game development. Youngmoo Kim of Drexel University and Dain Saint of Cipher Prime discuss music as an integral part of gameplay. 
"Game developers aren't exactly like tech startups," says Solomon. "Games are seldom paradigm-shifting, in that there's not a great expectation that a brilliant game idea will take over the world with a totally new usage/revenue model. It's more about ongoing creative vision and craft." 
Gaming, a hit-driven business, succeeds on app store sales, in game content sales or commissioned work, says Solomon, who adds that the framework for success is quite concrete. Games are rarely funded, and small game developers often need to maintain multiple revenue streams in order to do what they love.
A complete listing of Grassroots Game Week events, both free and ticketed, can be found here.

Source: Nathan Solomon, Philadelphia Game Lab
Writer: Sue Spolan
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