Arizona Video Game Showcase 2016 Explodes Attendance Record

Executing on our mission to empower and unite video game developers in Arizona and beyond means we get to do really awesome things with really awesome people. When we promised that the 2016 Arizona Video Game Showcase (AZVGS) would be the biggest one yet, we had no idea just how big.

Since our partnership with Phoenix Comicon we've seen an increase in attendees and visibility. Last year, we saw roughly 1,500 attendees throughout the four days of the convention, despite being in an obscure corner room of the Hyatt Regency. This year, located directly in the Phoenix Convention Center from June 2-5, we counted over 20,000 attendees. That's a fantastic increase!

Phoenix Comicon had a record year as well with over 106,000 unique attendees (a 40 percent increase from last year) and a remarkable daily attendance figure of over 216,000.

Our goal to give video game developers exposure to the public was a major success and it didn't end there.

Thanks to sponsorship from DUUL, Industry Games and Rare Labs, we were able to educate, celebrate and connect through informational panels, an award ceremony and an industry mixer.

During our first panel, titled Get Into Games, video game enthusiasts and aspiring developers got to meet local developers and hear their stories on entering the industry. Panelists included Sean Kauppinen (IDEA), Tim Winsky (Twinsky Games), Dan Tabar (Data Realms), Chris Zukowski (Return to Adventure Mountain), Austin Shamp (Errborne Games), and Marshall Cannon (CodaKid & Runner-Up Studios).

Our second panel, titled Play Arizona: The State of the Arizona Video Game Industry, included an overview of the results of a recent survey Game CoLab sent to Arizona video game developers. This included a $2 million increase in the average annual revenue of Arizona game companies. Stay tuned for a more complete account of our findings later this summer.

Speakers on the panel held a frank and enthusiastic conversation with the audience on where we currently are as an industry, where we're going and how more people can be involved. The industry insiders included Ken George (Rainbow Studios), Ariana Alexander (Timefire VR), Derric Clark (UAT), Robert Nelson (Broken Bulb Studios), Dan Tabar (Data Realms), and Sean Kauppinen (IDEA).

Both panels held packed rooms of roughly 80 attendees.

On Saturday, June 4th, we celebrated our industry during the AZVGS Awards Ceremony. Our friends, Tishin Donkersley (Tech.co), Daniel Valenzuela (City of Phoenix Councilman), and Sean Kauppinen (IDEA) co-emceed the awards praising the resurgence of the Arizona video game industry.

Rainbow Studios, the one-time hero of the state's video game industry, received the Phoenix Recognition for it's return from the ashes and success in bringing back the MX vs. ATV franchise.

The Best in Show Award went to Data Realms for Planetoid Pioneers. The Peer Award went to Industry Games for Kings and Heroes. And the Audience Choice Award went to Resonator for Anew: The Distant Light.

After the awards were handed out and accolades were made, we continued our celebration at The Lustre Rooftop Bar during the AZVGS Industry After Party, where over 130 game developers networked and shared their common goals and war stories while Adventureface spun his musical web.

AZVGS 2016 officially ended on Sunday, June 5th, but the camaraderie and friendships made during the showcase and related festivities will persist. The Arizona video game industry has resurged and is going strong. By bringing game makers together, we hope to give them have a voice and help them find more success in their creative endeavors.

If you were at the showcase, please let us know your thoughts. We're always looking for ways to improve, and we love to hear about the things you think we're doing right. Most of all, we love doing really awesome things with really awesome people.

Thank you to everyone who helped make AZVGS 2016 such a success!

If you missed all the action, make sure to join us next year, May 25-28.

Cheers, Ben

#GameCoLab #AZVGS #PhoenixComicon #Arizona #VideoGames #Showcase

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