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Virtual worlds but real businesses

Wisconsin "gamers" will discuss the latest trends in the fast-moving online and computer software gaming industry. Gamers from World Fantasy Games, Raven Software and Human Head Studios will speak at the Sept. 22 meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network in Madison will discuss the growing Wisconsin gaming industry and explain why they chose to locate their businesses in Wisconsin.

Jeff Thomas, founder and CEO of World Fantasy Games, Ryan Watson, lead animator at Raven Software and Rob Martyn, COO of Human Head Studios will give an overview of their respective companies and talk about how their companies have become industry leaders in a dynamic marketplace.

World Fantasy Games creates fantasy sports games and websites for brands and corporations worldwide. Thomas launched Sports Buff Fantasy Sports in 1993 and is recognized as one of the fantasy industry’s founding fathers. WFG operates the following company-owned websites:,,, and a global network of affiliate, white label, and partner sites called the World Fantasy Games Network.

Raven Software is a market-leading and award-winning computer game software developer based in Middleton. Since its inception in 1990, Raven’s core has always been centered on graphic excellence and superb gameplay. Raven Software has gone from a five-person company with a dream of creating a role-playing game for the Amiga, to the developer of recent groundbreaking titles such as MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE and X-Men II: Rise of the Apocalypse. Their latest product, Wolfenstein, was released in August.

Human Head Studios Inc. is a privately owned, independent game development studio based in Madison. Founded in 1997, Human Head began as a single-team development studio dedicated to creating the highest quality video and computer games, starting with the development of the highly innovative and award winning Rune. By 2005, the company had expanded to more than 35 veteran game developers and developed Prey, which won numerous awards.

“These are by no means the only gaming companies in Wisconsin, but their success illustrates video and online games are gaining market share on other forms of media, which is why the industry is drawing investors that range from USA Networks to Time Warner,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Innovation Network.


Paul Jones responded 5 years ago: #1

With all of the understandable excitement about biotech in Wisconsin, the emergence of the gaming studios - and indeed of software entrepreneurs more generally - is often overlooked. Given the lower capital costs and shorter time lines, it's a great story, well worth the attention of the investment, technology and economic development folks.

Snookums responded 5 years ago: #2

Didn't Raven just lay off about a third of it's staff? Maybe they could explain that.

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