ESA President Calls For Stronger Texas Game Industry Incentives

Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher has issued a plea to the Texas state government to strengthen tax incentives for software companies residing in the Lone Star state.

Gallagher explains that the ever-expanding Texas game development community is every bit as important to defining the state's rich cultural history as the music that the upcoming South By Southwest Music and Conference Festival (SXSW) was originally created to support. With both the Texas Senate and House of Representative currently considering bills to expand economic incentives for the entertainment industry, the ESA president does his job, making sure the voice of the games industry is heard.

Texas currently risks falling behind several states in economic incentive programs for the entertainment industry. This year alone, thirteen states are actively considering legislation that will either create or significantly expand their existing incentive program for digital interactive media development and production. These incentives not only help meet the needs of the video game industry for talented programmers and animators, but also help keep the state's brightest young minds from moving away.

It might sound boring to the naked ear, but tax incentives due play a rather large part in where a game company chooses to settle down. I've talked to two video game development studios here in Georgia - CCP and Hi-Rez Studios - and both have cited that Georgia's 20% tax incentive on game development was a major reason they set up, or in CCP's case, maintained shop here in my home state.

Gallagher finishes off his article with a heartfelt plea to the Texas state legislature, demonstrating a gift for words his predecessor, Doug Lowenstein, could only dream about.

Amidst this global financial crisis, Texas has more at stake than just its reputation as the birthplace of original artistic talent. While economic incentives for the video game industry are a sound investment for Texas' cultural legacy, they are an even better investment for the people of Texas.

The man sure knows how to turn a phrase, doesn't he?

Unfortunately we all know that Georgia remains the best state for game developers, and I'm not just saying that because it's lonely out here.

Okay, yes I am.

Gallagher: Incentives for the video game industry are an investment in Texas' future [Statesman.com]