NYCEDC, NYC Media Lab to open digital game design incubator at NYU Tandon

NYCEDC-founded NYC Media Lab plans to introduce an incubator program focused on digital game design and development to make New York City a hub for digital game development and production

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Today, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in conjunction with NYC Media Lab (NYCML), approved the creation of NYC Game Design Future Lab, a digital gaming incubator at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. The program will be led by the NYU Tandon Future Labs, a startup incubator network operator founded 15 years ago with initial funding from NYCEDC. This new incubator will tap into the growing digital game development industry and aims to enable developer success through personalized and strategic mentorship, industry-specific and fundamental business workshops, investor outreach, access to new technologies and network building.

Mayor Eric Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City's Economic Recovery” identified digital gaming as a priority, and NYCEDC and NYCML identified an incubator as an effective method to support and build the local industry. The industry is comprised of six key sectors that are directly responsible for 7,600 jobs, $762 million in wages, and $2 billion in economic output, as per the 2021 NYC Digital Games Industry Economic Impact Study, conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. 

“The growing digital game design industry is primed for continued growth throughout New York City and it is important we provide early-stage developers with world-class resources to ensure their success,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “Mayor Adams and NYCEDC are committed to supporting this industry and this new incubator will fuel development through access to state-of-the-art technology, mentorship, and industry-catered workshops. NYCEDC is thrilled to partner with NYC Media Lab and NYU Tandon, and we look forward to the new NYC Game Design Future Lab contributing to a vibrant, inclusive, and globally competitive economy for all New Yorkers.”

“Congratulations to NYCEDC on the opening of the NYC Game Design Future Lab Incubator at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, proof again of this administration's continued commitment to making NYC a global digital games hub,” said Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Pat Swinney Kaufman. “This work complements our office's creation of the first-ever Digital Games Industry Council, whose ongoing work will ensure the NYC Media Lab stays connected to the industry.” 

NYCEDC launched the NYC Media Lab in 2010 to connect digital media and technology companies with New York City’s universities to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent development. Initially launched as a pilot, the program continued over the last 13 years in partnership with NYCEDC, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Charter Communications Inc., formerly Time Warner Entertainment Company. 

“Building upon close to 170 years of engineering education and an amazing success rate in fostering start-ups through our various entrepreneurial programs, I am so excited to collaborate with the City to open the NYC Game Design Future Lab,” said Jelena Kovačević, Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “This new incubator will allow us to support the city we live in and grow a new sector to help expand its economy.”

“Digital game development is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the NYC Media Lab is pleased to partner with NYCEDC to open the NYC Game Design Future Lab to continue the growth of the emerging media by supporting new start-ups and ensuring that they succeed. For years we have worked to keep NYC the media capital of the world and now we will turn our attention to making NYC the game design and development center of the planet,” said Sayar Lonial, Interim-Executive Director of the NYC Media Lab at NYU Tandon. 

“The NYC Game Design Future Lab will allow us to expand our portfolio of start-up companies from sectors like data, AI, sustainability, combating climate change and cybersecurity to now include digital game design and development entrepreneurs,” said Craig Wilson, Managing Director, NYU Tandon Future Labs. “Proximity and mentoring from faculty at a world class engineering school, workshops to help them learn how to run a business, hands on support by a network of skilled Future Labs staff, and access to the amazing emerging media technologies located at NYU Tandon at the Yard, will create a pathway for success for early-stage companies navigating this emerging vertical.”

“This is precisely the type of innovative collaboration that keeps Brooklyn in the forefront of technology and job creation,” said Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “By cultivating new talent in the digital game development industry, we ensure increased economic and competitive impact both locally and globally. I applaud this exciting breakthrough work between EDC and the NYU Tandon School, it's a win-win all-around.”

The digital gaming incubator will feature annual cohorts of New York City-based digital game companies who have a functioning design prototype and are able to attend in-person sessions. Participating companies will have access to space and state-of-the-art resources at 370 Jay Street at the NYU Tandon campus and NYU Tandon @ the Yard. Applications are launching in early 2024.