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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo

Innovation

The boomerang brings HeadRight Games back to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh native Matt Rodgers is back, launching his first game through HeadRight Games with the help of Alpha Lab on the South Side. 
 
A graduate of Woodland Hills High School, Rodgers earned a degree from University of Maryland and moved on to Seattle, a land of opportunity for game developers. 
 
For the next eight years, he worked for gaming companies like Nintendo, Microsoft and WildTangent on titles that included Super Mario Pinball, Gameboy Advance and Conker: Live and Reloaded.
 
It was his last job with Real Networks, where he was an external producer churning out seven game titles in two years, that got him thinking about the casual gaming space, a fast-paced, hit-driven business where games like Angry Birds and Words With Friends are rolled out quickly. 
 
The casual industry has grown from $2 billion in 2002 to $6 billion in 2008 and is currently pushing upward of $20 billion, explains Rodgers.  It's a less expensive way to develop a game, outsourcing aspects such as music and art.    
 
With the model in mind, Rodgers returned to Pittsburgh and started HeadRight Games through Innovation Works' AlphaLab program.  He hopes to launch the first game, tentatively called Amusement World, this May, a sort of Disney World meets Willy Wonka theme park with rides, hidden object puzzles and quests.
 
"The mentorship, networking and talent pool in the Pittsburgh business community has been huge for me," says Rodgers. "This is the best place to get a company off the ground and grow a business."
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Matt Rodgers, HeadRight Games
 
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