Everyone knows that Silicon Valley is where the heart of the technology industry is and where the best companies and the best tech were born. But it’s not the be-all and end-all, it’s not the only region that produces top companies and nourishes big ideas. The following regions have also helped to do their bit.
This is a beautiful town. It’s not big, but its proximity to London and the fact that it is very leafy and beautiful means it is incredibly expensive. You can buy yourself a mansion in the north of England for the same price as a one-bedroom flat in Guildford. Trust me, because I’ve been the rather shocked purchaser of such a flat in the past during my days in the UK.
But as small as Guildford is, it’s also a huge home for game development in the UK. This is where Lionhead Studios (creator of Fable) was born; where Criterion Games (Burnout and Need for Speed) was born; and where the creators of No Man Sky were based. It’s also a big home for technology, with Ericsson and Philips Electronics both having large bases here.
To give you some scale, Guildford has a population of just 85,000 people, and yet it has produced more quality titles and companies than many large countries have.
A city in the north of England, a long way from and a lot cheaper than Guildford, Leeds is known for a young population, which is thanks in no small part to its booming university. It’s not the biggest or the richest city in the UK and many of us here in the US have’t even heard of it. But when it comes to gaming, it has produced some blockbuster titles.
ManHunt 2, L.A. Noire, Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V were all created here by Rockstar Leeds. Technically, because of the success of GTA V, it means games originating in Leeds have sold more copies than games originating in some of the biggest cities worldwide. It’s not just Rockstar either. Gamers from the 90s may remember Team 17, the developers behind Worms, Lemmings and Leisure Suit Larry. They were also based in this region and still are.
If you don't recognize the name of the region then you will almost certainly recognize the name of its leading university: MIT. This is one of the most celebrated technological epicenters in the United States and one that has played a huge role in this industry for many generations.
One of the most important things that they have done in the last few decades, and one of the things that is often overlooked, was to help bring the Internet of Things to the foreground. This is where the term was coined and where it came to life. And if it hadn’t have been for IoT, we wouldn’t have Fitbits and smart homes (check here). We wouldn’t have taken such a giant leap out of science fact and into science fiction.
A tax haven of sorts, Ireland has become a hotspot for many of the world’s biggest technology companies, either as a home for their global headquarters or their European headquarters. It’s where Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn are all based and it has been said that there are over 7,000 tech professionals working in the area of Silicon Docks alone.
Not only is it the ideal European location for many big companies, but it has also become an asset for technological advancement for companies like Nitro, Yelp, Dropbox, HubSpot, ZOO Digital and Zendesk, all of which are also based here.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The City of Sin is not just home to masses of personal injury lawyers, gamblers and hedonism. This is also where many great games have been introduced to the market and where many of the biggest advances in the industry came from.
After all, the gambling industry is a highly profitable industry that is always pushing the envelope, looking to create interactive games that can earn more money than the ones that went before. This constant need for evolution and revolution has ensured that the gaming industry has always had something to feed off. Many of the advances in mobile tech and social gaming have their roots in gambling games that were created for Las Vegas casinos. And then you have sports games, sim titles, card games and casino simulations, all of which were either born here or were strongly influenced by it.