From the first microchip to gaming hub

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By Walter Bialas, September 21, 2018

Wanna play a game? DFW’s technology roots have created a vibrant design studio haven…

A short time ago, a JLL client asked if DFW was a “gaming” hub, like some of the other tech markets across the US.

While I knew of local companies like Boss Flight and Escalation Studios, I did not realize how significant gaming development was here. In retrospect, it makes sense given the array of technology companies in North Texas developing applications and hardware. As we dug into the question, we were able to identify close to 90 companies in DFW.  While these companies run the gamut from large to very small, what is important is that DFW has roughly a third of all the gaming studios in the state (with Austin coming in at half) – and that Texas is the second most dominant gaming state in the country – even ahead of the Seattle, Washington power house.

Texas and DFW also have a strong pipeline for the future. Within Texas, there are 44 college and university programs turning out software engineers in gaming and related industries. DFW has 9 of these programs at prestigious places like University of Texas – Dallas, University of North Texas, SMU, and the Art Institute. While gaming may not seem like a critical function, this is a space where innovation is happening constantly – at the small level. Recall that virtual reality got its start and was popularized in gaming and now is appearing everywhere.  So, these game developers are at the nexus of new ideas and figuring out how to make it all work.

In addition, Dallas is also home to the National Videogame Museum. The NVM, which opened in Frisco in 2016, is working to preserve the industry’s history and artifacts and underscores the deep roots Dallas has in the industry (after all, the very successful Doom series was developed in Dallas).

DFW is also fast becoming a competitive “esports” location. Earlier this year, Arlington announced that it would help fund a new esports stadium.  Add to that Jerry Jones and John Goff recently joined forces to acquire Complexity Gaming and moved the teams’ HQ to the new Star in Frisco, which makes two professional esports teams that will be HQ-ed in the Metroplex (Team EvVyUs announced its move from Charlotte due to a local investment). Mark Cuban has also invested in this sector with his Mavs Gaming and a new showcase venue he is planning in Deep Ellum.

So, I have to ask – “wanna’ play a game?”  With this regional focus, I think we all will be very soon.


  • DFW is renowned for its historic technology roots in computers, chip manufacture, software development, telecom | mobile, and defense, which has positioned it as a haven for gaming, entertainment, and virtual reality.
  • While Austin boasts half of the companies in Texas, DFW still has 87 – almost a third of the State’s design and development studios – with Texas being just behind California as the most dominant state.
  • In DFW alone, nine college programs in gaming development provide a pipeline of local innovators taking ideas through to products and partnerships to build a real world “Age of Empires” in the Metroplex.