Editor’s note: ExitEvent founder and contributing writer Joe Procoopio paid a visit to the seventh annual East Coast Game Conference in Raleigh earlier this week to examine the state of the market. “It’s solid. And evolving,” he writes at ExitEvent.

Here’s an excerpt of his report:

I’m always going to have a soft spot for gaming. It was gaming that got me interested in computers in the first place, and while I’ve never considered myself the ultimate coder, the skills I’ve picked up have been invaluable in building products, systems, and even companies.

I’ve studied local gaming startups since my first introduction to the scene (not counting Epic) back in 2009, via the very first ECGC, then known as the Triangle Game Conference.

In 2011, when I first founded ExitEvent as a network for all things startup, I wanted gaming to be a big part of that network. There’s camaraderie in gaming that the entrepreneurial community would do well to emulate. I wanted to bottle that.

Since then, I’ve noticed two trends. One, the numbers and noise around Raleigh as a gaming hub have seemed to shrink every year. Two, the gaming community seems like a closed system, and while it’s easy to go to gaming events and hang with game developers who couldn’t be nicer and more accommodating, I could never get them integrated into the larger Triangle tech startup community.

In 2015, I’ve learned that there are valid and important reasons for both of these phenomena.

I’ve known Troy Knight since the very first East Coast Game Conference. Troy has played a big part in ECGC and the Triangle Game Initiative, all while spinning up his own company BLDG Twenty-Five, which brings together gaming, education, and design under a services and platform agency.

“Back in 2010, 2011,” Troy said, “we had about 40+ game companies. It’s about the same number today, but they’ve downsized.”

Part of the reason for this downsizing is that the barriers to entry are dropping quickly, and the companies that remain are becoming leaner.

“Smaller entities smaller teams. It’s so easy to get a concept out there. It doesn’t cost much money. Then they go out and build their next levels and versions off whatever royalties they’re getting.”

This is starting to sound a lot like tech startup, where recent advancements in mobile and cloud dropped the barriers to entry at such a rapid pace that a good coder could spin out a Minimum Viable Product in weeks. But instead of raising seed or angel money to build a better mousetrap, the gaming startups go right to market.

“It doesn’t take as much investment,” said Troy. “And it doesn’t take as much time to get stuff out.”

Read the full report at: http://exitevent.com/article/east-coast-game-conference-2015-150407