Game employment in US state rockets after govt aid

Tiga roars as Texas thrives from state funds

A game development grant programme has helped create 1,700 jobs in the state of Texas in the space of 16 months, according to a new study.

The report – ‘An Analysis of Texas Economic Development Initiatives’ – found that the games industry was one of the state’s biggest growth sectors, in terms of employment, between April 2009 and August 2010.

And according to various trade bodies, it was Texas’ own game and studio funding scheme that drove growth.

The Moving Image Industry Incentive Program launched in 2007 and provides grants for film, TV and game production.

“The Texas incentive program is a great example of how investing in the computer and video game industry attracts 21st century jobs and boosts a state’s economy,” said Michael Gallagher, CEO of the Entertainment Software Association.

“We commend [Texas Governor Rick] Perry and the Texas legislature for their vision in creating a program to cultivate these high-tech jobs.”

“Texas was one of the first states with an incentive for the video game industry, and it has proven successful,” said Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.

“In 2009, the video game industry spent $234 million in Texas and employed 3,400 permanent workers with a positive economic impact on the state and on their local communities.”

Richard Wilson, CEO of UK trade body Tiga, said the study emphasised the UK’s need to introduce its own state support.

“It demonstrates once again that many governments around the world recognise the economic potential of the video games sector and its ability to create highly skilled jobs. Texas is now one of more than 20 states within the USA offering incentives for video game production and development.

“The UK Government’s failure to support the video games sector in the face of mounting evidence is incongruous. If the right tax incentives are introduced then the games industry can create the private sector jobs that the Government claims it wants to encourage.”

Tiga says its own proposal for UK game tax breaks would “create or save 3,550 jobs, generate £457 million in investment and increase and protect £415 million in new and saved tax receipts”.

Independent data suggests the UK games development workforce last year contracted by 9 per cent.

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