We the undersigned members of the Maine Video Game Developers Meetup are writing to endorse Question 1, the $15 million bond that will match $30 million in federal and private funds to invest in high-speed internet infrastructure. Founded in April of last year, Maine Video Game Developers is committed to making game development accessible to Mainers regardless of geography. While we are a generally an apolitical organization, the importance of rural broadband to our mission cannot be overstated.

Modern game development is intensely difficult without broadband. The latest version of one industry-standard tool, Unreal Engine 4, is 11 gigabytes. At a download rate of 2 Mbps, which is common in underserved areas of Maine, it takes 13 hours to download this tool. On an internet connection with a 25 Mbps download rate, which meets the FCC definition of served, it takes one hour to download UE4. Whether downloading software or uploading textures and sound files, slow internet puts rural Mainers at a severe competitive disadvantage in the games industry.

The educational side of this issue is important as well. Game development can catch the interest of high school students in a way that other STEM subjects don’t, and many prominent names in our industry — John and Brenda Romero, Tim Sweeney — first learned game development in high school. If the next Tim Sweeney has to spend hours in a library parking lot in Phillips or Greenville just to download a tool for artistic expression, the entire state is worse off for it.

Peter Bourgelais, co-Organizer, Maine Video Game Developers
Bill Goodwill, co-Organizer, Maine Video Game Developers
Brian Nielsen, co-Organizer, Maine Video Game Developers
Eric Blumrich, Peace Island LLC
Chuck Carter, Eagre Games
Adam deGrandis, Chickadee Games

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