While there's nothing better than an eight-hour-friendship-ending game of Monopoly, most of us traded up Marvin Gardens for Vice City a long time ago.
With its realistic environments, amazing graphics and engrossing storylines, digital gaming is a money-making machine, netting $91 billion in worldwide revenues last year. Several of the companies developing our favorite titles have put down roots right here in the city, so we've rounded up 17 Austin gaming companies to put on your radar screen.
Top Game Companies in Austin
- Rooster Teeth
- Blizzard Entertainment
- Edge of Reality
What they do: Unity is a leading game creation software, used by companies like Disney, EA, LEGO, Microsoft and Warner Bros. Nearly 770 million gamers worldwide have played games created with Unity and anyone from large publishers to hobbyists can create with their products.
Popular games: Unity's technology is used to create games like "Monument Valley 2," "D.R.O.N.E." and "Ghost of a Tale."
What they do: With Amazon Lumberyard's AAA game engine developers can create titles for free using a suite of tools for all skillsets. There are no subscriptions or service fees and creators only pay for the extra Amazon Web Services they need.
Popular games: "Breakaway," "Star Citizen" and "Crucible" were all created using Amazon Lumberyard.
What they do: ArtCraft Entertainment Inc.'s team of engineers, designers and artists create MMORPGs. After raising nearly $2 million on Kickstarter, the company created its flagship title, "Crowfall," a unique "throne simulator game."
Popular games: “Crowfall”
What they do: Established the same year as the Nintendo 64, Aspyr has brought titles to Mac users that are almost as iconic as the 64 itself. Aspyr works with giants like Electronic Arts, Activision and 2K Games to port hugely successful games to the Mac.
Popular games: "BioShock," "Borderlands," "Call of Duty Series," "The Sims 2" series and "Star Wars" have all been brought to Mac by Aspyr.
What they do: Blizzard Entertainment is a veteran in the gaming world and is widely known for it massively popular, award-winning "Warcraft" franchise. The company boasts 16 #1-selling games and millions of active players on its online service, Battle.net. Blizzard, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., has nine offices around the world, Austin being the only other in the United States.
Popular games: “World of Warcraft,” “Starcraft” and “Diablo” series
What they do: Certain Affinity is Austin's largest independent video game developer and has worked on several extremely successful releases like the “Call of Duty” and “Halo” series. With more than 22 titles and 75 million sold units, the company announced in Feb. that it will be moving into a new 55,000-square-foot home, complete with Play Test space open to the public.
Popular games: “Mafia,” “Call of Duty” and “Halo”
What they do: No newbie to the digital entertainment world, Electronic Arts is a leader in game development, content and online services across multiple platforms. With more than 300 million registered users around the globe, EA produces a variety of top performing games for all types of consoles. EA calls Redwood City, Calif., its headquarters, but the Austin office is home to their BioWare, Mobile and Sports divisions.
Popular games: “The Sims,” “EA Sports,” “Madden NFL,” “Battlefield” and “FIFA”
What they do: Edge of Reality is a leading independent developer that collaborates with any publisher or platform and has produced titles for heavy hitters like Playstation, Xbox and Ninetendo 64. The company has put out 16 titles and sold more than 20 million units since it was founded in the late nineties.
Popular games: “The Sims,” “Tony Hawk Pro Skater,” “Loadout” and “Pitfall: The Big Adventure”
What they do: Ghost Machine is a virtual reality game developer creating in-house originals as well as third party collaborations with marketers and publishers. Composed of a talented team with published titles from Sony, DreamWorks and EA, Ghost Machine prides itself on high-quality work and creating an immersive experience for gamers.
Popular games: “Superbike TT,” “Motorsport VR”
What they do: KingsIsle creates family-friendly online games and has offices in both Austin and Dallas. The company recently launched “EverClicker,” a mobile fantasy/sci-fi-themed role playing game that takes place in a world full of misfit heroes.
Popular games: “Wizard 101,” “Pirate101”
What they do: Owlchemy Labs is well known for its virtual reality games that focus on hand interactions and create intuitive user experiences. The company's breakthrough work on touch interactions caught the attention of Google, which acquired Owlchemy Labs in May.
Popular games: “Job Simulator” and “Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality”
What they do: Phaser Lock, based in North Austin, is a young AAA virtual reality game developer. Boasting a passionate team with over 20 years of knowledge and experience, its mission is to create engaging and cinematic gaming experiences for VR.
Popular games: “Twisted Arrow,” “Final Approach”
What they do: Portalarium develops and publishes online games, products and services for use on social media networks, mobile platforms and PCs. Its games are designed to foster goodwill, community and learning between friends.
Popular games: “Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues”
What they do: A subsidiary of Nintendo, Retro Studios is the product of a partnership between the gaming giant and the founder of Iguana Entertainment. Retro’s team is composed of passionate, creative veterans developing games for multiple Nintendo gaming platforms like GameCube, Wii and Nintendo 3DS.
Popular games: “Donkey Kong Country,” “Mario Kart 7” and “Metroid Prime”
What they do: Rooster Teeth is a digital content studio creating award-winning web series like “Red vs. Blue” and “Immersion,” an online comedy series where video games are brought to life. The series tests whether the characteristics and material of video games are conceivable in the real world.
Popular games: "Immersion" has tested video games like “Fortnite,” “Mass Effect” and “Last of Us.”
What they do: Virtuix is the creator of the Omni, an interactive motion platform for VR games. Users can completely immerse themselves in a virtual reality world, controlling their movements through physical activities like walking and running.
Popular games: “Omni Arena,” “Travr: Training Ops & Shadow Ops”
What they do: Zynga is known for its social games. Founded in San Francisco, the company has opened offices in Austin and around the world. Zynga's games have been played by more than one billion people globally since its founding ten years ago.
Popular games: "Farmville," "Words with Friends"