At E3, Texas Guv Met With EA; Not All Texans Are Happy with His Visit

As GamePolitics reported yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) met with industry giant Electronic Arts at E3.

Perry’s chat with EA CEO John Riccitiello apparently took place after his poorly-attended keynote speech and an ESA-escorted tour (left) of the expo’s tiny show floor.

As reported by the Austin American-Statesman, Perry described his visit with Riccitiello:

We’re talking to these guys and saying, ‘What’s it take to get you to move to Austin, Texas?’ You tell us what we need to do to be competitive, then our guys will sit down and look at it … and see what we can do… The mentality is, ‘We love California, it’s a great state and a hip state, but Jiminy Cricket, it’s costing us a lot of money to stay out here.’

Meanwhile, Empower Texans, an Austin-based nonprofit group which focuses on fiscal responsibility, has criticized Perry’s trip, telling its Texas-based readers that they are being "joysticked":

The governor and Legislature are taking aim at your wallet with a little video game waste. Unfortunately, this isn’t the virtual variety but the real-world deal. Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants lawmakers to give video game manufacturers boatloads of money to get them to design their games in the Lone Star State. This is corporate welfare at its worst. This is a $9-plus billion industry that is referred to as "recession-proof." They don’t need your money.


Texas taxpayers already subsidize the industry to the tune of $250,000 per game made here… This is one barrel taxpayers should definitely jump.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Clearly, you, good sir, have the kind of good sense a person could only expect of a California liberal (whether or not you’re from California is irrelevant). The state has not been "brainwashed". It’s conservative, and by and large doesn’t like massive leadership change. Even the Democrats here are conservativfe.

  2. Billy says:

    What they don’t seem to realize is that if the devs move there, it will bring job opportunities for a lot of people. There’s a lot more than just programmers that work at a dev studio.

    Even though, I’m gonna be moving out of Texas soon, I’m all for this.

  3. Psy says:

    As cool as that sounds, I still despise Perry with every ounce of my being. I wish he would’ve gotten booed off stage at E3.

    If anyone knows what the Trans-Texas Corridor is, perhaps you can guess why.

  4. mogbert says:

    Yeah, they don’t need your money. They also don’t need to move to Austin.  If you WANT them to move to Austin, you have to make it worth their while. Everyone wants a recesion proof part of the industry to be located locally to stimulate the local economy. What part of this is hard to understand?

    This just sounds like some guy who knows what is going on but is trying to misrepresent it in order to make the guy look bad. I think he was the wrong person to speak at E3, but that doesn’t say anything about him bad as a person or a politician.

  5. Anonymous says:

     You know, it’s kind of depressing how everybody here jumps on someone who says anything remotely negative abot video games. Personally, I agree with the guy. The video game industry in this country is doing nothing but expanding, it’s not floundering and desperatly calling for government aid to keep it afloat. There’s a load of other things that the tax money could be spent on that would actually help people.

  6. A viking says:

    Yep. Guy’s been a grade-A tool as long as I’ve known about him. Whole state’s been royally brainwashed by the Republican party over the last thirty years or so. For a great book on the topic I’d find The Hammer Comes Down by Lou Dubose. It’s mostly about Tom DeLay but a good overview of Texan politics in general.

  7. Dark Sovereign says:

    Politics don’t matter that much fool. There’s tech hubs outside of Austin. They are magical places where people do things like "mind their own business" and don’t beg the government to come and save them. Where techies roam around in daylight freely and where the mayors are excellent. Those places are known as Houston, Dallas, and Ft. Worth.

  8. Fallenone says:

    Artist, programmers, writers, game designers want to live where they can make money. If more companies set up shop outside of California, people would go there. These people make decent money in Cali, but the cost of living is silly. Say you’re a level designer and you make 40-75k a year…hell it’s Cali…let’s say you make 90k a year. That’s not a lot. Now lets say you make between 55-75k in Texas. That’s nice. Real nice.

  9. Anonymous says:

    First of all, Austin is already a hub for game developers.  As far as the rest of Texas goes, hate to break it to ya Rick, but politics and culture really do matter.  Austin’s a pretty happening place, great for Austin, but lemme tell ya, the rest of Texas is not the kind of place where computer geeks and artists feel welcome.  If I have to explain that further, then you’ve never lived in Texas!

    Sure the companies would love to have their offices in someplace cheaper than CA, but when push comes to shove, you have to put your offices where your people are.  Some of them just don’t want to live in a state where the governer does things like push abstinence-only education in schools and appoint avowed creationists to the chairman of the board of education.  That’s just off the top of my head — people who actually live there would no doubt have more bitter reminders every time they turned on the news.  The industry executives may fall for your fawning and flattering, but artists and programmers don’t want to live in a place where they’re treated as godless heathen outsiders.



  10. A viking says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I live in Tacoma now but I grew up most of my life around Abilene as a tech junkie. Not the best way to make friends in that part of the world.

  11. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Forgot about that. Well, I do believe that businesses have to pay taxes on their profits and this tax is only a refund of some of those taxes. So it is still covered and will not bleed Texas dry.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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  12. L42yB says:

    This is a $9-plus billion industry

    So does that mean it is worth a billion and 9 dollars?  Surely they mean a "$9 billion plus"

    — mostly harmless

  13. Fallenone says:

    Jump ship? 1) It’s called expansion. They don’t have to pull out of Cali to setup in Texas. 2) Cali is expensive and isn’t getting any cheaper. Game Industry workers make good money, but some (perhaps more than some) would be making more money if they lived in a different state. Cost of living in Califorina is insane and increasing.

  14. Kris says:

    I think it would pay for itself.  So I say I wouldn’t be thrilled about throwing them a ton of money to get them here, but I know we’ll get it all back at some point.  We’ve got a good slice of the industry here already, and we seem to be doing alright.

    And that 250Gs they’re already miffed about is subjectively given, so it’s not like everyone is rolling in the tax breaks.

  15. jadedcritic says:

    I wouldn’t give it allot of thought. You’re not going to get EA to jump ship – if they were going to leave Cali, they would have by now. That said, I would only consider empower texans to have a legitmate beef if the budget down there isn’t balanced. If he’s handing out taxpayer subsidies that nobody can afford, then yes, it needs to be stopped.  If the industry he’s attracting is paying for itself, then let the man work. Besides, he’s not going to get allot of converts by giving inappropriate keynotes to tiny crowds.

  16. Anonymous says:

     People think Texas is some kind of haven where you don’t pay taxes. But they get you one way or another.  TANSTAAFL.  Besides the trend is toward smaller game companies, big ones like EA just make people that don’t know what’s going on in the game industry feel good about their investment in EA.  

  17. E. Zachary Knight says:

    So empower Texans is against boosting the state economy. They do realize that the money paid to the game companies will be paid for almost directly from the income taxes of the people working for the game companies, don’t they?

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
    Facebook Page:

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  18. Krono says:

    If they asked logical questions like "What sort of return on investment does this video game subsidizing give the Texas economy?" then they couldn’t create nearly as much fear and unrest.



  19. Dark Sovereign says:

    More fear mongering from the People’s Republic of Austin. Awesome.

    I love the point where he complains that we shouldn’t be helping a booming industry become even more prosperous.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So its bad to want industry in your state? Sounds to me like Empower Texans have a grudge against the governor and are just looking for an excuse to criticize him.

    I’d love it for an industry such as this to came to my state. If I was in Texas, I’d tell Empower to STFU.

  21. Kris says:

    250Gs isn’t really much.  I don’t think we should be throwing them tons of cash to come out here either, but if it gives Texans jobs…..  And I’d rather my tax money pay to give me more video games than new football stadiums. 

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