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Over half of Massachusetts video game sector is working on mobile titles

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More than half of Massachusetts video game companies are developing mobile titles, with console-based studios taking significant hits, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

"Every gaming entity is looking at mobile and saying, ‘This is where the growth is, and this is where we have to go to ­engage with a much larger ­audience, so how do we solve this problem?'" said vice president of business development at Disruptor Beam Inc. Hank Howie.

The Massachusetts game sector ­employs at least 2,041 people across 112 companies, reports a recent survey by state-sponsored development center the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute. 51 percent of survey respondents said they are ­currently working on some type of mobile project.

"All this disruption in the marketplace has created a ­tremendous amount of opportunity," said executive director of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute Timothy Loew.­ "Mobile has actually brought more players and more demographics into the marketplace."

Zynga's Cambridge-based studio was developing mobile titles and working on Facebook social farming simulator FarmVille when it was hit with layoffs last month. Of Facebook's 1 billion users, 60 percent log in from mobile devices, meaning less time is spent playing Facebook games built to run on PC. As of last month the company's stock had lost 77 percent of its value since last December.

Console-based developers Harmonix ­Music Systems, creators of the Rock Band franchise, and The Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine recently suffered a round of layoffs, along with casual and children's title developer ImaginEngine.