California company plugs into Austin’s gaming sector with new studio

Austin’s robust gaming sector has a new player. Crystal Dynamics, producer of Marvel’s Avengers and the Tomb Raider trilogy, has opened a game development studio called Crystal Southwest here.

Crystal Dynamics announced the Austin studio in a tweet on May 26th. Gaming veteran Dallas Dickinson heads the new office.

“The starting team in Austin, made up of Crystal Dynamics veterans, are already working hard,” said Crystal Dynamics on Twitter, adding that they are in recruitment mode here.

The company says the Austin outpost will be a “major component of all current and future Crystal Dynamics titles.”

Dickinson has been Executive Producer at Crystal Dynamics for almost two years. Prior to that, from 2015 until the company closed in 2019, he was President and CEO of QC Games in Austin, an online game developer. Prior to QC Games, he spent six years as a production manager and executive producer at Canadian video games company BioWare, which has a studio in Austin.

Tokyo-based Square Enix owns Crystal Dynamics, headquartered in Redwood City, California, and operates a studio in Bellevue, Washington.

The arrival of Crystal Dynamics in Austin underscores the city’s importance as a gaming hub.

GameDesigning.org ranks Austin 5th best city for budding game designers. The website states that Austin has nearly 75 game-oriented studios. Meanwhile, GameJobHunter places Austin at # 6 on its list of top cities for gaming vacancies (318 vacancies as of May 27). There are 50 game studios in Austin, according to GameJobHunter.

Last year, Austin appeared at number 6 on WalletHub’s list of the best US cities for gamers, one place ahead of San Francisco. Ranking factors included internet speed and video game deals per capita.

“In addition to the much-acclaimed music and technology scene, Austin can also claim to be the cradle of modern video game design,” SXSW stated in 2018. “While the city is home to dozens of smaller and independent companies working on games and gaming technology, mention expansion offices of heavy hitters like Blizzard, BioWare, and EA, less known is the fact that much of the way games are played and developed, comes from Austin. “

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