What did we do in 2018?

I am frequently asked about the economic impact of digital games when discussing Whitethorn Digital in the Erie area. “Can games provide jobs?”, “how much does it cost to make a game?”, “how long is a game development cycle, on average?”, “can games be sustainable in a city like this?”, and more.

In an attempt to address some of these questions, I’ve compiled the following numbers regarding our impact in the Erie area in 2018. I also thought it was important to write a bit of a retrospective on what we’ve accomplished here. There are also some statistics here about the games we’re working on, where they are in their development cycles, and the number of people they’ve employed, whether full time, part time, or on a contractual basis.

Whitethorn Office Renovations

In 2018, Whitethorn Digital opened it’s offices in the Renaissance Centre at 1001 State St., Erie, PA. The Renaissance Centre is a historical building on the National Register of Historic Places. As most century-old buildings, both in Erie and elsewhere, parts of the building need considerable work to uncover its historic beauty and utility.

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This was no small project. As part of taking over the space, Whitethorn employees and contractors removed walls, debris, drop ceilings, and more wood paneling than we care to mention. We’re extremely proud of the office we’ve built here, and you should come tour #515 sometime. We promise the walls are mostly painted!

At a glance…

Furniture and Decor: $1,687.55
Equipment and Tools: $1,225.00
Labor:
$3,150.00
Tons of Debris Removed:
7
Tetanus Shots: 2

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Erie City Economic Activity

One of the most important things a business can do for a city is spend money. By looking for Erie business to fulfill our needs first, we put Erie first. By putting Erie first, we have palpable impact where we live.

In total, Whitethorn Digital spent $72,385.19 on game projects being developed in, and launched from the Erie, Pennsylvania area in 2018. Of that, $56,876.80 was either spent directly in the City of Erie, or on projects, hardware, or assets that will physically remain in the City of Erie - just about 80%. As you might expect, a good chunk of this is employment costs, unfortunately mostly 1099-misc employment for the time being.

The projects we’ve worked on have made some amount of work for more than 100 people, about 30% of which are in the Erie area. Moving this percentage higher is one of our key goals for 2019.

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Our Products

In 2019, you can expect to see three to four games release from Whitethorn Digital. These are the result of thousands of hours of labor lasting across multiple years for many teams. Game development is a slow, volatile process involving multiple disciplines across engineering, art, sound design, writing, interaction design, usability, user experience, UI, marketing and advertisement, video production, and countless other tasks that often go uncredited.

We’ve signed two new titles into the 2019 cohort, which will be announced at E3 2019. We expect to flesh it out to a full five from our backlog of now more than 100 hand selected independent projects.

Looking back over 2018, our four client projects represent more than twenty years of labor. In 2018 our games secured $36,392 in pre-orders, and more than 10,000 cumulative wishlists - an important factor in judging their overall release success. Many of these titles are currently available to select testers on retail Xbox hardware via the Xbox Insider Program.

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Where the Bees Make Honey

  • Successfully Funded on Kickstarter

  • March 2019 on Xbox, Playstation, PC

  • Entirely developed in Erie, PA

  • Three years in development.

  • Featured at E3, PAX, Xbox, Kickstarter

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StarCrossed

  • Successfully funded on Kickstarter

  • June 2019 on Xbox, Playstation, Switch, PC

  • Three years in development.

  • Featured by Kickstarter, Boston FIG, PAX East

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BOMBFEST

  • Successfully funded on Kickstarter

  • January 2019 on Xbox, Playstation, Switch, PC

  • Four Years in Development

  • Featured by Jesse Cox, Kickstarter

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Tinselfly

  • Still in development

  • February 2020 on Xbox, Playstation, Switch, PC

  • Over Ten Years in Development