Wisconsin Innovation Network: Virtual worlds but real businesses: Wisconsin gaming companies to be featured at Sept. 22 WIN-Madison

Hear about the latest trends in the fast-moving online and computer software gaming industry from top Wisconsin “gamers” at World Fantasy Games, Raven Software and Human Head Studios during the Sept. 22 meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network in Madison.

The luncheon will be held at the Sheraton Hotel on Madison’s John Nolen Drive. Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m., lunch at noon and the presentation at 12:30 p.m. The cost is $25 for WIN members, $35 for non-members; $10 for students and included with WIN corporate memberships. To register, go to http://www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com.

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 discuss the growing Wisconsin gaming industry and explain why they chose to locate their businesses here. The speakers 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: SportsBuff.com, FantasySportsBusiness.com, ProFantasySports.com, GetYourOwnFantasy.com 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.

The event is sponsored by the MATC Foundation. Madison Area Technical College offers courses that have produced gaming software developers, animators and more.

WIN is the membership arm of the Tech Council, the independent, non-profit science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. It has chapters in Milwaukee, Madison, Northeast Wisconsin, Central Wisconsin, the Lake Superior region and Western Wisconsin.