Multivarious Games has long been a champion of building a community around video game development in Central Ohio.
“Us as a studio, as Multivarious, a big part of what we do is building up the community,” says CEO & President Chris Volpe.
MVG has started building that community by heading up COGG – The Central Ohio Gamedev Group, and for the fourth year in a row, GDEX – the annual game developer expo which Volpe estimates will bring more than 5,000 people from 25 states to COSI on October 29-30 to celebrate all things gaming.
“We try to help foster that community, bring everybody together, collaborate, all showcase what we’re working on,” Volpe says.
Now MVG wants to take that community and grow it into an industry in Central Ohio. Volpe says their efforts so far have largely been virtual – people come to their meetups or events then go back to their office.
That’s about to change though, as MVG stakes its claim as an anchor tenant on the second floor of the under-construction Columbus Idea Foundry in Franklinton, and creates The Sandbox – a physical home for gaming and creative technology.
“We are trying to provide an ecosystem that removes as many barriers, and helps people be as successful as possible,” Volpe says.
Creating a physical hub of gaming activity has been on MVG’s agenda for some time and taken a few different forms, but CIF and its community provided the right fit.
“Alex and I seem to have a really similar outlook on creativity and innovation and being an entrepreneur and a startup, and we both want to create a place, create a community…that’s really devoted to passionate, dedicated people who can make things,” Volpe says.
The Sandbox isn’t an incubator or an accelerator but a collaborative space. The MVG team will occupy an office while Sandbox participants will work from an open space just outside the door.
There is an application process for the three membership levels – Let’s Stay Casual, Dev Like You Mean It, and Living The Dev Life – clocking in at $50, $100 or $250/month respectively. The screening process just ensures the entrepreneurs are in the game dev or creative tech space. The latter encompasses those things like virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence – there’s a lot of crossover in skill sets and interests.
Sandbox members have access to the creative minds and expertise of the MVG team as mentors, not to mention opportunities for collaboration with others in the space and across the building. MVG is also working with a number of partners to provide access to small business services – accounting, legal, healthcare and benefits, marketing, branding, crowdfunding advice, etc.
While The Sandbox and the second floor are slated for a January launch, Volpe is already excited by the innovative ways MVG is finding to collaborate with artisans in the building. For example, a bronze artist normally creates a quick 3D model before beginning a piece – 3D modeling is something witch which MVG is very efficient and familiar.
Volpe believes it’s so important to create a home for the game developers and the creative techies to curb the brain drain – talented people heading to the coasts to connect to a more established industry. That’s an IT-minded skill set lost to somewhere else.
Pre-registration for The Sandbox is now available. For more information, visit thesandbox.space.
Click here to read more about the collaborative community developing on the second floor of the Columbus Idea Foundry.