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Minnesota emerging player in video game industry

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota is becoming a bigger player in the video-game business, thanks to places like Glitch.

Glitch is a nonprofit based at the University of Minnesota that works to educate and inspire future game makers.

Evva Kraikul founded the organization along with Nic VanMeerten. Kraikul’s plan was to be a neuroscientist, but her passion for video games took her in a different direction.

“My parents keep asking me what on earth I’m doing,” says Kraikul, with a laugh.

Glitch rents space for independent game makers to help create their vision. And that vision is becoming a little clearer in Minnesota. There are 45 digital game companies in the state. Gaming is a $43 million business in Minnesota and it’s growing.

“We know that gaming and digital gaming is on the cutting edge of technology and tech skills, so if we want to be a place that’s advancing in that space, we have to have a robust gaming culture and so Glitch is critical to that,” says Michelle Hoffman, a public relations professional in the Twin Cities. “A lot of people will tell you gaming is based in Silicon Valley, it’s in the West, but you know what? This is an industry here in Minnesota that has ebbed and flowed, but it’s chugged along steadily.”

Some predict Minnesota’s gaming industry could be booming in the next few years.

“It’s exactly what we needed,” says Andrew Reiner, the executive editor of Game Informer, a magazine based in the Twin Cities. “It’s what San Francisco had, it’s what Austin had, and now Minnesota has it.”

Krailul sees the same bright future. “I’d love to be able to, within the next five years, take some of our programs on a national level, but still have our home base here and be one of the powerhouses for supporting digital games.”

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