PAX East Contributes $325,000 to Massachusetts Digital Games Institute at Becker College

Published on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

PAX East announced its investment in digital games education and industry in Massachusetts today with a contribution of $325,000 to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (Mass DiGI), located at Becker College. The funds will be distributed over 11 years, with $50,000 in the first year.

Reed Exhibitions Senior Vice President Greg Topalian joined Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray and Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Executive Director James E. Rooney to announce the contribution, as well as a commitment to keep the popular video gaming event in Boston for the next 10 years, at a press event today at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC). PAX was created on the West Coast in 2004 by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, authors of the Penny Arcade web comic.  Growth and interest in the event extended to the East Coast when the first PAX East took place in Boston in 2010. PAX is operated in partnership between Reed Exhibitions and Penny Arcade. PAX East kicks off its third year in Boston on April 6, 2012.

“Massachusetts has one of the largest digital games clusters in the United States, a $2 billion industry for our state that employs 4,000 people” said Lieutenant Governor Murray.  “PAX East’s annual donation to MassDiGI will build upon the investment we’ve already made in this important and growing industry. At the same time, PAX East brings leaders in gaming technology to Boston, creating a hub of activity and knowledge-transfer between Massachusetts and the rest of the world.”

“We’re thrilled to host PAX East for at least 10 more years,” said James E. Rooney, executive director of the MCCA. “Hosting an event for the next decade that draws gamers from around the globe to Boston is fantastic, but the international attention it brings to the incredible technological advancements coming out of the Commonwealth is a win-win.”

“PAX East is pleased to be in Boston for the foreseeable future,” said Greg Topalian, senior vice president, Reed Exhibitions. “As the event continues to grow by serving throngs of passionate gaming fans, Boston has more than met the challenge with impeccable service and attention to detail. The partnership between the state of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute only sweetens the pot for us.”

“We are very grateful to PAX East and Reed Exhibitions for the long-term partnership and commitment,” said Timothy Loew, executive director of MassDiGI. “Their support will help open up a new world of exciting opportunities that will strengthen the student-to-industry talent pipeline in the Commonwealth.”

Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., president of Becker College and chair of the MassDiGI Advisory Board, joined Topalian, Lt. Governor Murray, and Loew at the BCEC. “In less than one year, MassDiGi has received nearly $1 million in support of its singular value proposition,” said Johnson. “MassDiGI provides real-world experiences that draw students and businesses to Massachusetts, anchored by the nationally ranked game design program at Becker.”  Becker College is among the top 10 colleges in the U.S. and Canada for video game design, as ranked by The Princeton Review, and is host of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI). Becker College will showcase its interactive media programs and student-created games at PAX East, April 6-8, 2012. Becker has been a PAX East exhibitor since 2010.

About MassDiGI
The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute is a statewide center, designated by the Commonwealth, for academic cooperation, economic development, and job creation in the Massachusetts digital games cluster. Based at Becker College, MassDiGI is the result of innovative collaboration among academia, state government, and industry, aimed at fostering the growth of the creative economy in Massachusetts. In addition, MassDiGI is a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center.

Since its founding, MassDiGI has launched several initiatives that support entrepreneurship and enhance the talent pipeline between higher education and the digital games industry. Specific initiatives include the Reverse Sabbatical Program and the Virtual Production Lab – both of which bring student teams, faculty, and industry professionals together to work on creative projects in a real game development environment. Numerous other initiatives will roll out in 2012, including the MassDiGI Game Challenge, Summer Innovation Program, Education Working Group and Data Gathering/Benchmarking Working Group.