There's a well-kept secret in Lutz. It's a secret lair of sorts for video game makers. Millions of gamers are paying to get in on it.
We're talking about a company right here in Florida that's shaping the future of the gaming industry.
At Artix Entertainment, the employees dress like characters because they play them, too.
"My character is Artix, which is a warrior of good and justice," explained CEO Adam Bohn.
He started the company in a garage.
"We had wild dreams like everybody does. We never thought it was actually going to happen," he said.
Inside his kingdom you'll see an army of artists sketching ideas, animating, colorizing and pixelating.
The team spawned six games. The most popular is Adventure Quest Worlds. It's one of the world's largest multi-player games with 16,000 playing together in real time, at any time.
Then there's merchandise. Shirts, action figures, posters and more are for sale in places like Toys R Us.
However, the heart of it all is the game. You won't find a single copy in stores.
"The tradition model is you'd buy a box or you'd download or you'd get a CD," Bohn said.
The company doesn't manufacture game cartridges, discs or DVDs.
"Back in the day people used to go to the store and buy a box, but all of our games play straight in our web browser, which means there are no downloads. There's nothing to install," he said.
Like vinyl records to mp3s this trend shapes the future of gaming. Artix Entertainment's next chapter brings 3D to your laptop. There is no need for a game system, just a home computer.
"Adventure Quest 3D Legend of Lore ... is going to be a console quality game, 3D, that you play in your web browser," he said.
It's all free. So how do they pay the designers, the coders and the artists? It's easy when you get gamers so hooked they pay for perks.
"If you want to go past a certain point or get the best stuff or save time from doing very repetitious stuff you have to pay," Bohn said
If their games never end, neither do the profits.
"Every week our new release comes out. You can jump on, play it and come back next week for the new adventure," he said.
It is all about the new adventure, but just how profitable is this? When asked about their finances, the CEO says they prefer not to disclose.
But he admits it's somewhere between pennies and gazillions.
We can tell you Artix employs dozens of people. It operates an entire floor of its office building in Lutz and has plans to expand.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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