US video games company Rocket Science Corporation, renowned for its work on blockbuster titles like Call of Duty and Fortnite, has announced its decision to establish its European headquarters in Cardiff. This decision, supported by a £825,000 investment from the Welsh government, marks a significant step towards bolstering the region’s gaming sector.
Rocket Science Corporation, a key player in the global video games industry, aims to employ over 50 professionals who will focus on developing cutting-edge tools for some of the world’s most popular games. This landmark decision aligns with the projection that the global video games market will exceed £200 billion by 2025.
With established studios in New York and Austin, Texas, Rocket Science’s expansion into Wales heralds a fresh chapter in its journey. The company’s co-founder, Thomas Daniel, expressed enthusiasm for this strategic move, stating, “We’re coming in to work on the biggest games in the world and we’re bringing the experience of our American-based teams to Cardiff.” Reflecting on his own journey from Wales to the global gaming scene, Daniel added, “Playing for Manchester United seemed more achievable than being successful in the games industry.”
This move, fueled by a strong collaboration between Rocket Science and the Welsh government, is poised to invigorate the Welsh gaming ecosystem. Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Dawn Bowden affirmed, “This significant investment will support the Welsh government’s strategic objective of developing the games industry in Wales.” The government’s commitment to nurturing local talent and attracting international players is mirrored in Rocket Science’s decision to plant its roots in Cardiff.
Wales’ gaming industry has witnessed a steady rise, with 140 game developers in 2022, up from less than 100 in 2020. Cardiff, alongside smaller clusters in the north-east and Swansea, holds the lion’s share of developers. The pioneering efforts of companies like Wales Interactive, known for games created for Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox, have further contributed to this growth.
David Banner, Chief Executive and Co-founder of Wales Interactive, emphasized the industry’s economic significance, stating, “The games industry makes more money than the film and music industries combined so it’s really something Wales should tap into more going forward.” Banner also highlighted the region’s expanding pool of creative talent, noting that investments like Rocket Science’s would help retain local expertise and boost the economy.
The establishment of the Games Developer Foundry Wales initiative, a collaborative effort between iungo Solutions, Bridgend College, and Creative Wales, underscores the growing support for the gaming sector. Jessica-Leigh Jones, Chief Executive of the initiative, praised Wales’ unique indie-developer ecosystem and highlighted the surge in gaming businesses since 2020.
As the Welsh government and industry stakeholders remain committed to fostering a thriving gaming ecosystem, Rocket Science’s arrival promises to cement Wales’ presence on the global gaming map while nurturing local talent and driving economic growth. With Rocket Science’s visionary leap, the question for Wales’ aspiring game developers may soon shift from “How do we succeed?” to “Why leave Wales?”