Pittsburgh has a reputation for being a sports town, but a new WalletHub survey shows that the city also likes to engage in a different kind of play.
In a nationwide survey, WalletHub, a credit consulting company that also covers national business trends, named Pittsburgh among this year’s top cities for gamers. The ranking was based on “20 key indicators of gamer-friendliness,” such as average internet speed and opportunities for game developers.
Pittsburgh came in at 14 out of 100 U.S. cities but ranked in the top five for having the highest average internet speed and the most arcades per capita. The latter hardly seems surprising—while the rapid growth of home console systems and online gaming killed off most arcades, Pittsburgh continues to keep the culture alive, especially on the South Side where nostalgic button-smashers can find Games N’ At and the Victory Pointe Arcade and Gaming Cafe.
Gamers also flock to Pittsburgh for the ReplayFX Arcade & Video Game Festival, an annual event featuring a vast array of retro console and arcade games and pinball machines. (The next one takes place this July at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.)
The city isn’t just friendly to gamers. Pittsburgh is home to Schell Games, touted as the largest education and entertainment game design company in the country. With a team of more than 100 employees—among them artists, engineers, producers and game designers—the Station Square-based company works on projects for clients like Disney, Facebook, PBS and more.
“One of the dimensions used to choose the top gamer cities was Gamer & Developer Opportunities, which took into consideration the number of video game companies and job openings in the city,” says Jill Sciulli, director of marketing at Schell Games. “As the largest full-service educational and entertainment game developer in the U.S., we are pleased that our presence in this great city contributed to Pittsburgh’s rank on this list.”
She also credits the graduate-level interactive entertainment program at Carnegie Mellon University as a boost to the city’s gaming culture.
WalletHub went on to cite a Pew Research Center study determining that 49 percent of U.S. adults play video games, with many playing an average of three to four hours per week. The study also found that 10 percent of adult players consider video games as more than just a hobby.
The top three cities for gaming were Orlando, Seattle and Austin, followed by New York and Atlanta.