Texas Governor Rick Perry believes in the game industry. It's in our nature, he said, to be driven and competitive, and that's why he wants more companies within the industry to put down roots in Texas.
Speaking to an audience of industry professionals and press at the 2008 E3 Media and Business Summit, Perry, archetype of the jovial Texan, said, "Gamers get so used to respawning themselves that they're willing to keep going when their health meter is down to real-life zero. There are more than a few people in this room who have ridden an ill-fated game into the ground, bounced back up and went at it again. They're still chasing dreams, but this time, they're... wiser and more committed to succeed."
Perry hopes that spirit will help drive the economy in Texas, and in that vein the state currently offers $250,000 in economic incentives to game companies who spend that money within the state. But he'd like to do more, he said.
"I'll be calling on legislators next January... to challenge them in 2009, and I'll also ask for more public and private-sector investment in the game education programs in our state schools. There are extraordinary opportunities there."
The game industry already plays a strong role in the Texas economy. Perry said that there are 22 game developers and publishing companies in the state, combining to spend about $177 million dollars there in the coming year. These companies created 2800 jobs in Texas, as well.
Not only does Perry hope the thriving games industry will continue to contribute to the state economy, but he believes Texas has a lot to offer the industry, as well. "CNBC declared that Texas was the best place in the country to do business," he said. "That's why it's home to more Fortune 500 corporate headquarters than any other state."
The average salary of a game development professional is about $63,000 annually - not a lot to those who live in urban hubs like Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York, but in Texas the lower cost of living means a higher quality of life, generally.
"As governor, I'm really proud that Texas is the third-biggest game-producing state... I'm gunning to be number one, and I think we can be. I think our game incentive program that we have can play a very important role as we go forward."
"I came to E3 to encourage your vast audience of people in the industry... and to acknowledge what you're doing, and the growing economic power you possess, and to celebrate the shared commitment to competitiveness that we both have," said Perry.
"But I also came here to challenge you again. In the months and years to come, what can you do to unlock the power of your medium, and to make the world a better place to live?"