Time Zone is an interactive game-space, laboratory, classroom, art gallery, and arcade destination for gamers, developers, business professionals and of course geeks of all ages and abilities. Time Zone brings the latest technology, the hottest innovators, the smartest kids and the coolest games from every era into the heart of San Francisco. Time Zone is the Creative Commons IRL which takes a future-first approach to game innovation, business of gaming and education.

Time Zone seeks to empower people to innovate, evolve, and change the nature of gaming.

We are not alone, there are others in the video game and non-video game space who are innovating in this direction (BabycastlesTilt Factor, Values at Play, Institute of Play, Games For Change, LA Game Space, YetiZen, The Exploratorium).  We are growing this ecosystem, but our focus will be on experimentation and innovation in both game play and the gaming business.  Think of it this way.  We believe "The Star Wars moment" is upon us.  One the one hand the AAA titles and big companies are stagnant and hardly innovating and focused on a narrow white-male-violence-oriented, woman-over-sexualized audience.  On the other hand market is maturing and the industry is starting to realize its limitations.  Technology barriers have been lowered and indie developers are blazing a trail.  Platform technology of course is on its never ending march and there is a lot of very serious thought, literature and research going into this field.   Less powerful mediums like movies and books have matured and expanded their markets to cover nearly all aspects of human endeavors   Gaming has limited itself to narrow market slices even though it is a larger industry than movies and books combined.  What is needed is innovation in design and business.  There needs to be a place in the heart of Silicon Valley, the home of Atari, where innovators can come together in a commons and experiment, innovate and explore the boundaries and commercial realms.   To exploit the moment and change the game.

Consider Time Zone something similar to NoiseBridge, The Crucible or an artist warehouses / residencies / gallery - warehouse416 or  Cyclone.   In some way it is the modern day equivalent of Andy Wohol's factory.  Its closest kin is LA Game Space in Los Angeles or Dutch Game Garden in Holland.  There elements which are similar to YetiZen in San Francisco, but we move far beyond it.   Like those projects, Time Zone will focus on talent and serve as an experimentation hub to foster innovation and talent across the spectrum of the gaming world.  The difference is that Time Zone will have a focus on business as well and offer a live, experimental, for-profit game-space that will allow developers to experiment and learn by exposing their work to the public in a high traffic location.  It will have a heavy emphasis on data collection and analysis through a lab.  It will also have an element of advocacy to support designs for women, minorities and the LGBT community as well as improving the working conditions of industry participants.  Lastly its residences will cross the spectrum of professions - business, social justice, government, architecture, law as well as game developers and designers.  They will run their own experiments, but with a common meta goal - to change what a game is, to lead us to our "Star Wars" moment.

We Believe
  • That there are a lot of great games, concepts and models that need nurturing, growth and most importabtly exposure.
  • That gaming media is extremely powerful and still in its infancy.  Games through user feedback have potential far beyond books and cinema to be transformative.   However, unlike books and cinema  they have not moved beyond the simplest levels of social engagement (how many games address core social issues?), emotional engagement (how many games make you cry?), nor business potential (AAA title are very stagnant and geared towards the white male).
  • The hit-based model of entertainment for gaming is stagnant, limiting and needs maturing to meet the power and potential of gaming.
  • That the gaming ecosystem is maturing through explosion of the indie scene, rich academic environment and research and gamification concepts which are bubbling up beyond entertainment.
  • That fostering innovation requires a freedom from the commercial and financial constraints of the large development studios and video game business.
  • That fostering the next generation games and business models requires live interaction with customers through a real arcade-like game space which allows not only exposure to users but also collection and analysis of data.  Designers and programmers need real live feedback, data and market indicators.  This can happen online, but is truly rich in a live space that fosters community and has a commercial mission.
So close your eyes, Imagine...
A place where independent video game developers/designers/artists can experiment and demonstrate their latest creations.  A laboratory where experimentation, data collection and analysis completes a virtuous circle for spurring innovations in technology, business and art.  Imagine an elite school which nurtures gamification of learning and pushes the boundaries so that the future of replete with games provide a social good, solve global problems and build new business paradigms.   Imagine the games industry mold of white-male violent oriented game-entertainment crumbling as creations are exposed that the whole of society can be included, have fun and enjoy.  Imagine a place which push against the corporate burn-out model. Imagine a place that takes a longterm view of challenges and that puts San Francisco in the center of the exciting, booming technology space of Games, something that will outclass its technology neighbors and spur further local innovation, economic development and tourist attraction.

Our Vision 
Video gaming will change the world for the better. There is so much power in the medium that it can be a force for good and embetter the world we live in. This power has been hardly realized. Our vision is an intersection of art, science, academia, advocacy, business and the public meet for the sole purpose of innovating how the world interacts and make it a better place.

Our Mission
To realize our vision we need to change the industry by freeing creators, artists and the business from the bonds that constrain them. Our mission to create that freedom to generate ground-breaking gaming, business, education and social-good innovations.

Time Zone through a physical space will develop and experiment with paradigms, concepts and games that will change the medium and business of gaming.  We want to break the stagnant molds of the entertainment industry as well as move significantly beyond it.  Our vision and mission doesn't exclude entertainment as part of the gaming experience.  Indeed it is well within our core, but we want to move the needle beyond the white-male stagnant experience into the worlds of art, science, social good, education as well as expanding the entertainment spectrum.  Also this doesn't mean Time Zone is divorced from business reality, indeed focusing on business is also core to us.  Our laboratory and arcade is intended to focus as well on business models and paradigms that will make gaming viable beyond the current commercial limitations.

Our Services
  1. Residence, fellowships and grants for qualified and aspiring people with backgrounds in video game development, architecture, finance, social good and  government.  We want to attract the best people to learn from each other, teach others, and experiment. 
  2. In-house expertise (resident technicians) who can help with specific technical issues and support the residents and fellows.
  3. Office space / incubator for qualified entities.
  4. A live art-game space open to the public.   The installed games will be mostly indie creations but also include unique old school ground breaking machines, non-video game elements that support the development of the genera as well as the latest development s in electro-mechanical and pinball.  Time Zone's Game Space is not a museum nor a retro-classic nostalgia trip.  It is viable, fun experimentation game-space focused on data, analysis and business.  It is meant to fostering innovation in independent game design through experimentation, exposure and data collection as well as be independently profitable.
  5. An education center.   Much like the Exploratorium, children will be exposed in an interactive, hands-on way, to the world of designing and building video games.  The goal is to help cross the Digital Divide by building digital literacy and creativity as well as nurture talent.
  6. A game / business laboratory and data analysis center.  The lab and data analysis center will enable designers to track, analyze and experiment with indicators which can only be drawn from live experimentation - things such as body movement, button use, heart rate, play rate, and other data which could be key for game design in the 21st century.  It would also be a place where designers could experiment with different types of controllers and game platform paradigms.  Lastly it will also support the development of new business models and paradigms.
  7. A clearing house for protected IP.   All donors and investors will have full access to the IP developed and Time Zone will be responsible for defending it.
  8. Advocate for better working conditions and industry support for developers, artiest and other participants in the industry.
Dollars and Cents
Time Zone is envisioned over the long term to be a self sustaining and hope that many profitable business will be born from it.   It will generate income from:
  • The arcade / bar - TimeZone is planned to have a liquor licence and be in a location near bars and nightlife.  The arcade at night will serve as a place to play and be part of the growing trend of retro coolness.
  • Rental of desk space for those that are not part of the residency, fellow or incubation program.
  • An event space - TimeZone will rent out its facilities to corporations wanting to space for parties and events.   In addition it could be rented out by private individuals want, most commonly  to host birthday parties for kids - which is the most common use and profitable part today's location based entertainment.
  • Learning center - The education component will provide income from workshops, classes and possibly a curriculum for advanced kids.
  • Providing data and analysis, reports and publications.
  • Licensing IP and publishing of games.
  • Investing in entities (much like a traditional incubator) that will eventually run for profit. 
Statement about San Francisco and the Video Game Industry
Hosting a space like Time Zone will firmly plant San Francisco as one of the key places for the Video Game Industry.  Though there are a few big studios in the city like Zynga and Double Fine, there are few independent studios.  Time Zone would certainly attract key talent who would go on to develop studios and contribute economically to the community and city.  Furthermore, the city would benefit from likely tourist traffic since the art-arcade would be one of a kind.  Lastly, it would also show that Technology doesn't start and end with Silicon Valley and would one-up San Francisco's technology rich southern neighbors.

Why is it called Time Zone?
Time Zone was arcade in Sunnyvale with the San Antonio shopping center.  It was the place that Atari games did most of its field testing and experimentation.  The name is meant to connect the past with future and bring back space where that kind of experimentation can live again.

Further Readings

People doing different things with games


Tilt Electronics (Arcade game refurbishment and repair)
KLOV (Killer list of video games)
Atari Games (Site with lots of old Atari docs and art)
Game Developers Conference
http://gamify.com/ - based in SF
http://games.ucla.edu/games/ - Game lab at UCLA
http://gamelab.mit.edu/ - Game lab at MIT

http://www.blackboard.com/BbWorld/Home.aspx Conference (July) looks pretty user-based

Childrens' Creativity Museum: http://creativity.org/about/
Kuato Studios: http://kuatostudios.com/ (CEO based in SF)

Education tech articles:

Local Indie Game Community: http://www.threerings.net/ http://www.indiecade.com/2013/

Game Lists

          Other people doing something similar
LA Game Space
LA Game Space is a nonprofit center for video game art, design, and research, where people of all backgrounds can discover the potential of games together. The Space supports four core activities: Exhibitions, Talks/Workshops, the Artist Residency, and Research Labs. Everyone worldwide may freely participate in our events via live-streaming and archived recordings.
Dutch Gamer Garden
Dutch Game Garden accelerates the growth of the Dutch games industry by providing wide-ranging support and facilities for students, start-ups and established game companies.
The Winnitron 1000 is a free-to-play independent video game arcade cabinet featuring new games created by indie game developers from Winnipeg and across the globe!
T-shirt printing bar in the Height district of San Francisco
Baby Castles
NY Times Article

Serious Games
Serious Games Initiative - founded at the Woodrow Wilson International Center forScholars inWashington, DC. The organization encourages the use of virtual environments to address public-policy issues.
Virtual Heros - Corporate Games,
Article on Corporate Games - http://www.fastcompany.com/940422/rise-corporate-games
Serious Games (wikipedia) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serious_game

No Quarter
Mattie's event
GameBeat 2013 - October 29th - 30th - Redwood City
Games For Change - June 17 - 19 - New York
indieCade - October 3 - 6 - Los Angeles
Game Developers Conference - March 27th - 29th - San Francisco 
Independent Games Festival - March 25th - 29th - San Francisco

Books / Magazines
Serious Games by Clark C. Abt