Barcelona is a city placed in the eastern side of Spain best known for its famous buildings such as La Sagrada Familia or Casa Batlló and its local football team, FC Barcelona. Over the last years, the city has become the number one Spanish city in technological investment and fifth in Europe, after London, Berlin, Paris, and Amsterdam. This software-related growth has also positively influenced the video game development environment inside the city. How? Let’s find out!
Big Fish . . .
Barcelona Games World celebrated its first edition last October and broke all participations records in a national video games event in the country. Big firms like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Playstation were there, but it was also an excellent opportunity for indie developers to share experiences and do some networking. You can have a look at the complete article about the event here.
BGW 2017 is planned to be hosted in Barcelona again with more available space and, hopefully, with even more visitors.
Mobile World Congress is known as THE EVENT in Barcelona. The whole city gets prepared to receive visitors from all over the world. The event is even targeted toward big companies and executives with the latest innovations in the mobile market, and the latest combination of mobiles and games is present as well. The perfect example is GameLab, a set of conferences that explores the “Edge of Innovation” in mobile gaming. VR, AR, Wereable gaming, e-Sports and Real World Gaming where some of the topics that were covered in the last edition.
. . . and Small Fry
These big events are not the only place in Barcelona to expand your horizons. There are other smaller ones to have fun as a video game lover as well. For example, there are a bunch of groups like A.R.C.A.D.E. and Retromaniancs that help organize secondhand markets along the year. They also sponsor local events like “Etern Amstrad,” a tribute to 80s computers with tournaments, exhibitions, and talks; or Retromaniacs Sant Andreu, where arcade devices and pinball machines get together for the pleasure of the most nostalgic players.
There is a space in this city for video game soundtrack lovers as well. The MGP Live promoter has included Barcelona in the worldwide tour of two shows: The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses and Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. Both performances take out the music from the video game to be played by a whole orchestra.
Work, Work, Work!
Big international companies like King (creator of famous Candy Crush), Gameloft (most of Spiderman’s mobile games), Ubisoft (Just Dance, Assasin’s Creed, Rayman, etc.) or ZeptoLab (Cut the Rope) have opened offices in the city. All of them are less than five years old, which proves how young the market still is.
Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2017 has positioned Barcelona as one of the main European start-up breakouts with more than 900 companies that fall into this category at present time. In the video game market, start-ups and local companies like Social Point or Bloompix Studios have resulted in a total of more than thirty video game specialized companies, quite a number in a city of only 1.5 million citizens. A large percentage of those companies develop mobile video games because of the influence of Mobile World Congress event.
I Want to Be a Video Game Developer
The growing demand for professionals could not be covered without the corresponding training. That is why main universities in Catalonia—UAB, UPC, and UPF—have charged up their batteries and start to offer one and two years masters specialized in two main branches: video game creation for developers and video game modeling in 2D and 3D for designers. There is even a video game development degree where people can start studying their passion without going through the old typical route of a computer science degree.
Private schools like FX Animation, ENTI, and CEV attempt to further narrow specialization with courses that cover:
- Character design and creation
- Characters animation
- Visual effects
- Multiplatform video game development
- Digital illustration and concept art for video games
- 3D modelling and textures
- Story telling
- And more
Major companies in the city take advantage of this and offer students paid internships so they can learn in a real-world environment from experts.
Arcade Rooms are Cool Again
Wandering around Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is synonymous with finding the most varied and interesting shops and cafes. Since 2016, Virtual Playground is one of those discoveries in the oldest neighborhood of the city. It was the first Arcade VR room in Spain and has full equipment for four HTC Vives to play a growing catalog of VR video games like Serious Sam VR, Walt of Wizard or Audio Shield. Room can be rented in hours or for a whole day for a big group. I think I know what to ask for in my next birthday . . .
Any Other Reason?
We even have our own open-world video game! Its name is The Wheelman and it was developed by Midway back in 2009. The game has so many gaffes regarding the city’s reality that it is even funny to play.
Nevertheless, all of these ingredients make Barcelona a great place to grow professionally in the video game industry. If this article has not convinced you, maybe favorable weather most of the year, an international environment, or proximity to the main European capitals will!