$2B Digital Games Jobs Study From NYC Mayor’s Office Of Media & Entertainment

November 22, 2021

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), whose portfolio was expanded to include digital games in 2018.

Today announced the results of the 2021 NYC Digital Games Industry Economic Impact Study. The groundbreaking study details specifics on the sector’s significance and contribution to New York City’s economy.

Major findings of the report concluded that in 2020 the industry supported 7,600 jobs, $762 million in wages, and $2 billion in economic output.

Major findings of the report concluded that in 2020 the industry supported 7,600 jobs, $762 million in wages, and $2 billion in economic output.

The entire report is available HERE. For a breakdown of the economic impacts and highlights from the study, please see below.

“We are proud to present this first-of-its-kind study, which highlights the role that the emerging digital games industry plays in our city’s economy,” said NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner, Anne del Castillo. “The results affirm the need for the city to promote this growing industry that lives at the intersection of technology, art, small business, and education.”

New York City has a rich history with the games industry, hosting competitive events in the ‘70s at arcades such as Chinatown Fair, serving as the location for Nintendo’s first-ever global retail store in the ‘90s, and providing the backdrop to various commercially successful game series.

NYC is also among the top ten cities in terms of industry presence, and one of four cities (along with Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco) that dominate the esports market.

Highlights from the 2021 NYC Games Industry Economic Impact Study include:

  • The number of jobs in the industry has tripled since 2008 with industry professionals earning an average of $106,000 in annual wages, 14% higher than the citywide average annual wage of $93,000.
  • Over half of game development firms in New York City are independent, meaning that the games are made and distributed by solo developers or small teams of less than five people.
  • Venture capital investment in the industry increased during the pandemic, as demonstrated by the fact that the amount of capital raised by companies in the industry grew from $376M in 2019 to $774M in 2020, a more than doubling despite the number of deals staying roughly the same over this period.
  • Over the past five years, New York City has hosted one to two large esports and digital games-related events a year, each drawing between five to ten thousand attendees.
  • In addition to the 7,600 full-time industry jobs, there exists a network of approximately 18,000 New York City freelance creatives and game developers in the indie games community who are involved at any level of game design and creation.
  • New York City non-profits and youth education programs see more than 1,500 students enrolled each year in “creative coding” programs that blend the technical and artistic aspects of digital game design.

Breakdown of Economic Impacts from the 2021 NYC Games Industry Economic Impact Study: 

  • The industry is comprised of six key sectors that are directly responsible for 4,600 jobs, $480 million in wages, and $1.3 billion in economic output. These key sectors are game developers, publisher/developers, retail and arcades, professional services, esports, non-profits, and education.
  • The industry indirectly supports an additional 1,500 jobs, $160 million in wages, and $355 million in economic output by way of transactions with suppliers and vendors to the industry’s main sectors.
  • The industry’s induced economic impacts are created when job holders – directly and indirectly, supported by the industry – spend their wages in New York City, supporting an additional 1,500 jobs, $113 million in wages, and $294 million in economic output.
  • The industry’s ancillary economic impact, tourism spending that can be attributed solely to attending esports and digital games-related events, amounts to $4 million annually.

The global digital games industry is projected to record revenues of $180 billion in total sales and reach 474 million esports viewers in 2021. In support of the Economic Impact Study findings, and to further acknowledge the industry’s growth, MOME is proud to announce that it will be licensing the “Made in NY” logo to digital games made in New York City. Established in 2004, the “Made in NY” logo celebrates and supports New York City’s growing media and entertainment, technology, and fashion industries and their creators.

The logo signifies a mark of distinction for work created in New York City, and advances workforce and industry development. Qualified digital gaming companies can use the “Made in NY” logo in their game’s packaging, title screen and/or game website. Visit MOME’s “Made in NY” Digital Games webpage to learn more about the “Made in NY” mark of distinction.

Additionally, in 2022, MOME will launch a “Made in NY” Marketing Program for Digital Games, which will offer free marketing and promotion for digital games made in New York City.

Currently, MOME partners with the Neighborhood Opportunity Network and The Animation Project to provide more than 1,500 at-risk youth with 3D animation training and exposure to careers in game design

The extension of the “Made in NY” logo to digital games builds on the suite of programs MOME has created or funded to support New York City’s digital gaming industry. Currently, MOME partners with the Neighborhood Opportunity Network and The Animation Project to provide more than 1,500 at-risk youth with 3D animation training and exposure to careers in game design.

Additionally, MOME provides support for Play NYC, the biggest multi-day game convention in New York, and Games for Change, a non-profit that empowers game creators and social innovators to drive real-world impact.

“Innovation is the key to growth, and this Comprehensive Analysis of the NYC Digital Games Industry shows that The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) has been successful in pushing our city forward,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Digital Game Industry is a great way to involve our next generation in technical and artistic programs and showcase New York City’s place in the world as a leader in technology, while also finding new solutions to longstanding issues faced by our city especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic we will need creative ways to boost our economy. I commend MOME and Commissioner Anne del Castillo for their ongoing commitment to our borough and city.”

“This report by Commissioner del Castillo and MOME showcases the strength and vitality of New York City’s digital games industry,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “From job growth to tourism, this report illustrates our city’s commitment to digital games, and to this industry’s valued contribution to New York City’s economic health and innovative future.”

“Video games and other digital media are some of the most impressive cultural and artistic expressions of the last fifty years, and it has been incredible to see the industry grow at such a rapid pace while creating innovations that have been used across countless industries and generating billions of dollars in revenue for developers,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “The Mayor and Commissioner del Castillo are doing well to recognize and engage with the outsize impact of the video game industry, and I look forward to growing our involvement with this deeply important and often undervalued source of creativity, expression, and economic activity.”

“We are grateful that MOME is taking a leadership role in supporting the gaming industry and New Yorkers’ role in it,” said Philip Courtney, CEO of Urban Arts Partnership. “At Urban Arts, we are committed to helping NYC public school students explore their creativity and harness technology to defy the odds and define their future. With this game-changing study, we have an unprecedented opportunity to create pathways for our talented students to contribute to New York’s – and their own – economic success.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment continues to provide invaluable support for the game industry of New York City,” said Naomi Clark, Department Chair at NYU Game Center.

“This year they’ve proven their commitment to the growth of New York’s game scene with the 2021 NYC Digital Games Industry Economic Impact Study, which sheds light on the rapid expansion of this sector, as well as through the expansion of the Made in NY logo to include digital games. Our industry appreciates these efforts by MOME to recognize the potential of New York to grow into an internationally recognized hub for game development, and look forward to continuing to work with them to bolster the game industry.”

“Not only is the games industry in New York City a powerful engine for economic growth, it’s also a significant driver for social change,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “For over 17 years, NYC has been home base for Games for Change and a global community of innovators using video games to drive real-world impact in education, healthcare, civic engagement, and beyond. This report from MOME and Commissioner del Castillo shines a light on the crucial role of the games industry in the city’s innovation ecosystem, and the power of games to shape New York City’s future.”

2021 NYC Digital Games Industry Report 

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) regularly conducts studies to build its understanding of New York City’s evolving media and creative industries. MOME Commissioner Anne del Castillo launched this study in 2021 to provide a detailed assessment of the size, characteristics, and trends of the New York City digital games industry.

Because the industry’s significance to New York City is wide-ranging, the study’s analysis entailed a multi-layered research process that included: an economic analysis of the industry’s jobs, wages, and economic output in 2020; an analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the industry; an analysis of digital game sectors and changes that have occurred in the city in recent years; interviews with over 20 key industry stakeholders and experts; and a literature review of the industry studies in other game industry hubs to contextualize the study’s findings and recommendations.

Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment  

The mission of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) is to ensure New York City continues to be the creative capital of the world by supporting film, television, theatre, music, publishing, advertising and digital content and ensuring those industries work for New Yorkers.

In 2019, the creative industries accounted for more than 500,000 local jobs and annually, have an economic impact of $150 billion. MOME comprises four divisions: The Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; NYC Media; the Office of Nightlife; and educational and workforce development initiatives.

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