Certain Affinity Moves to New Building, Plans to Double in Size

Max Hoberman, founder of Certain Affinity.

Max Hoberman grew up in Austin, graduated from the LBJ High School, now called the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy of Austin.

Then he went on to get a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communications. After graduation, he decided to pursue a career as a game developer and spent 10 years with Bungie Studios.

In 2006, Hoberman launched Certain Affinity, which is now Austin’s largest independent game studio. It has 125 employees currently with plans to hire 105 more game developers, Hoberman said.

And Certain Affinity just purchased the 55,000 square foot building which previously housed the Texas Association of School Boards at 7620 Guadalupe Street.

Mayor Steve Adler made the announcement Friday, noting its the first construction project to benefit from the Texas’ Media Production Facilities Development Program, according to a news release.

Hoberman said the project has been in the works for a year and construction began in November. The company expects to move from its 25,000 square feet of leased space in North Austin at 3107 Oak Creek Dr. in June. The new building will include two floors of creative development space, amenities, playtest labs, sound design suites and a virtual reality development lab.

The first floor will feature an open design and will be available for lease to other companies in June. STG Architects designed the site plans and Balfour Beatty is the general contractor.

“Everything we’ve done has been designed around fitting the maximum number of developers on the second and third floor of the building,” Hoberman said. “A lot of the work we do tends to be high profile and confidential.” And that’s why the company doesn’t plan to use the first floor, he said.

Certain Affinity also has plans down the road to expand further with plans for a parking garage and another 50,000 square foot building, Hoberman said.

Certain Affinity is entirely bootstrapped. The company has been profitable every year and has grown every year, Hoberman said. It has generated more than $100 million in revenue. For the first time, Hoberman said he’s looking at venture capital investment to expand the company even faster.

Certain Affinity co-develops major games such as Call of Duty, Halo and Doom. Currently, the company is working on four game titles, including two it has developed internally, Hoberman said.

“Austin is a city where good ideas become real, and this is one of the best. Certain Affinity is leveraging Austin’s strength as a game-developing center to create opportunities where, for too long, inequities have held entire communities back. This is exactly how we should be using economic incentives – in this case, sales tax exemptions – to target jobs and opportunity where Austin needs it most,” Mayor Adler said in a news release.

“Certain Affinity is a leader in digital gaming and home entertainment. It is fitting to have Certain Affinity as the first company in the state to be the recipient of this new incentive, which reinforces Austin’s standing as a center of innovation and creativity in digital media. The Chamber through Opportunity Austin is pleased to have worked alongside their leadership to reach this successful moment that will benefit the entire local community,” Kerry Hall, 2017 Chair, Opportunity Austin, said in a news release.

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