Proposed Oklahoma Tax Break Excludes M-Rated Games

January 23, 2009 -

From the good news/bad news department:

An Oklahoma state senator has proposed tax incentives for game developers - but only if their project is eligible for a T (13+) or lesser rating from the ESRB.

It was longtime GamePolitics comment moderator E. Zachary Knight who alerted us to the measure, SB644. The proposal by Sen. Anthony Sykes (R), would make game projects eligible for tax breaks which already apply to films, commercials and TV productions in the state.

The video game rating requirement is spelled out in the language of the bill:

“Video games” mean products that are intended for commercial use or are produced for distribution on electronic media and which include an appreciable quantity of at least three (3) of the following types of data: text, sound, fixed images, animated images and 3D geometry and which are rated or will be rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board with the ratings of Early Childhood, Everyone, Everyone 10+ and Teen.

While games are restricted to projects appropriate for those under 17, the only eligibility requirement placed on film content is that it be neither child pornography nor obscene. By that standard, R-rated films and MA-17 television programs would easily qualify for the tax break.

EZK spoke to Sen. Sykes yesterday about the rating requirement and filed this report with GamePolitics:

[Sen. Sykes]... would rather not include the ratings restriction. Unfortunately, as he went around to his fellow senators asking for their support, the first question out of their mouths was whether there would be ratings restrictions.

He is well aware of the [failed] game legislation of [2006] and many of the people who voted for that bill are still in office and were some of the people who demanded the restriction...

He also raised some concerns about [possible] lobbying against the bill... His final concern was whether he could get enough support during such economic turmoil. Oklahoma is facing a budget shortfall this year and that may not make such a tax break very appealing to many people.

GamePolitics readers will recall that Oklahoma's 2006 video game content law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in September, 2007.

If the measure is passed, Oklahoma will join neighboring Texas as the only states tying game developer incentives to content restrictions.


Comments

Re: Proposed Oklahoma Tax Break Excludes M-Rated Games

I know OSU-Stillwater is trying to setup a game programming course but I'm not sure how far thats gone.  It would be nice if we had something like that here on the Okmulgee campus.

Re: Proposed Oklahoma Tax Break Excludes M-Rated Games

OSU-OKC offers a two year Game Programming degree. OCCC offers a two year Game art and animation degree. Rose College offers a two year game programming degree and Rogers State offers a four Year game programming degree.

Those are the degrees  Iknow about. Many other colleges offer game related courses.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

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