Vancouver studio closures spark indie wildfire

Vancouver studio closures spark indie wildfire
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

August 29th 2012 at 6:53AM

Indie rebirth a boon for Canadian development, says Silicon Sisters CEO

Big names may be pulling out of Vancouver, but Brenda Gershkovitch says a reimergent indie scene is taking over.

Rockstar and Radical Entertainment both shut down their studios in the Canadian city this year, but both these studios worked mostly on contract jobs for parent companies that own the IP.

Though many worry about the loss of jobs, this may be partially offset by a rapid growth of independent development in the area.

"The indie scene in Vancouver is on fire,” Gershkovitch, CEO of Silicon Sisters Interactive, told The Vancouver Sun.

"A lot of studios in town that have gone the way of the dodo were doing work for hire,” said Gershkovitch. “The intellectual property is where the value is. We’re bemoaning the loss of a couple of studios, but often they didn’t own the intellectual property anyhow.”

The birth of new studios creating fresh intellectual property might spark a new acqusition cycle, something Gershkovitch thinks should be welcomed.

"A lot of people disagree," she says," they think it’s very difficult to make it as a small indie. But I think the games market became quite stale. And while there were incredible games that were pushing graphic capabilities, in terms of diversity in types of games, it really had gotten homogeneous. What’s happening now is the opposite.”

This stagnation of potential means the industry is too conservative to take advantage of new markets, opined Gershkovitch, who is personally leading a forray targeting one of the fastest growing industry demographics: women over thirty.

"Everybody has a gaming device in their purse or pocket. People you’d never call gamers ... my mother.”

"My bet right now is on romance,” she continued. “I think we like relationships and exploring and escaping. Many of us have really demanding and full lives, and escaping into a romance is really entertaining."

Gershkowitch says over 100 game industry startups have launched in Vancouver since 2008.