Georgia Passes Law Providing $25 Million in Tax Credits to the Video Games Industry

April 15, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Georgia has signed into law a new tax incentive program for video game makers. The new law, House Bill 958, puts up $25 million in tax credits for video game developers in the region.

There are several high profile studios in the region including Hi-Rez Studios (Smite), Tripwire Interactive (Rising Storm) and CCP Games (EVE Online).

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How Georgia Lawmakers Are Working to Keep its Citizens' Broadband Connections From Improving

February 13, 2013 -

If a town or city wants to have their own broadband infrastructure, they should be able to build it as long as it doesn't cost the state it is in taxpayer dollars. But there's a quiet movement - a greasing of the wheels, if you like - to put a stop to that by telcos and low-end broadband providers that rely on old infrastructure. The latest state to try and legislate limits on what towns and cities can do to improve broadband is in Georgia, where state lawmakers have introduced Georgia House Bill 282, or "the Municipal Broadband Investment Act."

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Georgia Senate Approves Bill to Cap Video Game Industry Tax Credits

March 29, 2012 -

The Georgia Senate has voted to limit the amount of the 30 tax credits the video game industry gets to $25 million and to restrict the credit allowed to individual companies to a maximum of $5 million. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers said that the change allows for funds to spread around to smaller outfits rather than being used up by bigger companies. The new cap is a compromise from the original bill which sought to eliminate the tax credit altogether.

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Georgia Teen Killer to be Charged as an Adult

August 22, 2011 -

The Georgian teen that murdered his great grandmother and injured his grandmother with a sword after being told to stop playing video games and do his chores, will be tried as an adult, according to a Reuters report. The 15-year-old's name was also released, along with the names of the victims in the incident. The 15-year-old has been identified as Gevin Prince, and the 77-year-old great-grandmother who died from multiple stab wounds has been identified as Mary Joan Gibbs.

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The State of Georgia v. Ms. Pac-Man

August 2, 2011 -

Last week officers from the Georgia Department of Revenue showed up at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta and seized eight of the establishment's vintage arcade games because for "vending law violations." Seized doesn't mean taking physical possession of the machines; instead the machines were unplugged and tagged with bright red violation stickers.

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CCP Plans Expansion, Staff Growth in Georgia

February 25, 2011 -

EVE Online owners CCP announced that it plans to relocate 150 people to a new U.S. studio in Decatur, Georgia. The company has a studio in Georgia already but plans to shift personnel to a 40,000-square-foot facility in Decatur. The company's long-term goal for the facility is to add an additional 150 developers by 2013.

Besides working on Eve Online related projects, CCP Games is developing two new original properties: World of Darkness and DUST 514.

"Decatur offers the perfect blend of big city accessibility with a hometown feel that we were looking for," said CCP North America president Mike Tinney. "Georgia’s financial climate combined with Decatur’s social climate provide the ideal conditions for continued growth."

Georgia is a popular state with the entertainment industry due to its generous tax breaks and pro-business attitude.

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Atlanta GameStop Murder Suspects Will Not Face Death Penalty

January 31, 2011 -

Suspects in a 2010 robbery that lead to the murder of a GameStop customer will not face the death penalty, according to the Rockdale Citizen. Three Atlanta men were robbing a GameStop in November of last year when the victim, 40-year-old Adrian Snow of Stone Mountain, entered the store. He was immediately shot by one of the defendants and was killed instantly. The men were later apprehended and face a litany of charges.

The men arrested were 27-year-old Giovannte Maddox, 25-year-old Tron Lamar Hill, and 17-year-old Markus Isiah Seymore. The men were charged with "malice murder," felony murder, three counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of obstruction of a law enforcement officer and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Hill faces an additional charge - possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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Zombies, Atlanta, and Tax Credits

December 8, 2010 -

Menue Americas Corporation launches its new free-to-play online video game, Zombie Mosh on Facebook and takes advantage of Georgia Entertainment Industry Incentive Act. The Georgia Entertainment Industry Incentive Act gives "qualifying" game developers and publishers a transferrable 20 percent base tax credit on all "qualified expenditures" within the state, such as labor, materials and services. The Act gives an additional 10 percent tax credit if the company promotes the state by placing a Georgia promotional logo in the video game.

Zombie Mosh's creators are not the only zombie-related action in town - Atlanta is also home to AMC's new zombie-themed TV series The Walking Dead.

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Georgia Game Developers Association Invades SIEGE 2010

September 15, 2010 -

The Georgia Game Developers Association announced that Westwood College is sponsoring a college fair and professional tutorials at the fourth annual Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (SIEGE). Scheduled for Oct. 1 – 3, 2010, at the Crowne Plaza NW Atlanta hotel (Atlanta Georgia), SIEGE focuses on the game design industry in the South.

The college fair attracts schools like Westwood, Georgia Tech, Southern Methodist University’s Guildhall, SCAD and more, according to the event's organizers. Students can visit with school representatives and attend sessions on game development as a career.

Professional tutorials on developing games for Windows 7 for Mobile, publishing music on Rock Band Network and programming in Flash, are also being offered.

This year's keynote speaker is Pong creator and Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.

Find out more about the event at www.siegecon.net.


Developer Growth in Georgia Appears Peachy

August 30, 2010 -

Georgia’s aggressive tax breaks for interactive developers seem to be paying off for the state, if you believe a rosy picture painted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

All in all, the piece estimated that around 70 companies “affiliated with videogame production” operate in Georgia today. The economic impact of such companies on the local economy was pegged at $68.9 million in 2008, while a figure of $49.9 million was assigned to 2009, though that number is expected to double once companies that have not yet filed for tax incentives do so.

Among the lures that make Georgia an attractive home for game developers is a sizeable tax credit of 20 percent for investments that surpass $500,000, with an additional 10 percent in breaks up for grabs if the state’s logo is embedded in the game.

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“Angel Investor” Tax Credits Aid Georgia Game Development

May 18, 2010 -

The Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA) is throwing its support behind language in a new Bill that would provide a tax credit of up to $50,000 for individuals that invest in “early stage, innovative, wealth-creating businesses.”

The GGDA believes that Section 2 of HB 1069 would help be advantageous for Georgia-based startups in the videogame and digital media development industries. The Bill, which passed the House and now needs only Governor Sonny Perdue’s signature, would allocate $10 million dollars annually for the program if enacted.

The measure also has the strong backing of Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who penned a letter (PDF) to Technology Association of Georgia members encouraging them to contact the Governor to indicate their support of the legislation.

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Georgia Tax Incentives May Lure EA to Atlanta

December 18, 2009 -

Atlanta is one of a handful of locations Electronic Arts is considering for a new development studio as it attempts to find more developer-friendly locales in a bid to cut infrastructure costs.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle notes that Louisiana and Florida are also in the running for the new location, while Texas has already been ruled out. The new studio would employ up to 300 people and perform tasks that are currently done in the more expensive state of California.

Georgia introduced legislation last year that would enable videogame developers to qualify for tax credits of up to 30%, a top reason EA is considering the state according to spokesman Jeff Brown, “The tax credit is definitely one of the things that attracted us to Georgia.”

He added, “If we can find an abundance of talent and a pipeline through a local university that gives us access to talent in both art and engineering, that’s where we start. rest of it is really a cost equation.”

The article claims that Atlanta is home to 70 computer game makers, most of whom are in the Atlanta area.

Hi-Rez Studios Chief Operating Officer Todd Harris attested to Georgia’s developer friendly attitude, saying, “The economic incentive act that was passed is very, very compelling and one of the nation’s best.” Hi-Rez is located in Alpharetta, Georgia and currently working on a game called Global Agenda.

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Georgia City Councilman Resigns, Is Sued After e-mailing Racist Game

March 18, 2009 -

Kennesaw, Georgia is in the midst of an ugly scandal. And a racist online game is playing a prominent role.

Last week, a group of minority employees in the Atlanta suburb filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging mistreatment by white co-workers, supervisors and elected officials.

City Councilman John Dowdy (left), a defendant in the suit, has resigned his post, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Among numerous allegations, the lawsuit charges that Dowdy, a 10-year veteran of City Council, circulated e-mail links to the anti-immigration themed Flash game Border Patrol. Released anonymously in 2006, Border Patrol disparages Hispanics with epithets such as "drug dealer" and "breeder."

From the lawsuit:

Dowdy sent an email to Human Resources Director... linking the recipient to a racially violent video game called "Border Patrol" in which the game player would "shoot" different cartoon characters that were stereotypes of Mexicans, including "Mexican National," "Drug Smuggler," and "Breeder," a cartoon of a pregnant Mexican woman holding hands with children . Points were assigned for shooting and killing each of these characters .

 

Dowdy forwarded this game to [three Kennesaw employees] among other people, along with a message which read, "THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes you feel better anyway, I did my part today, I kept a few from coming over!!! GET READY --- THEY ARE
FAAAST! ! !"

UPDATE: We inquired with Kennesaw officials as to whether Dowdy is a Democrat or Republican. However, we were told that council elections there are non-partisan, so no party affiliation is recorded by the city.

45 comments

Savannah Woos Game Developers with Free Office Space

March 3, 2009 -

An increasing number of states are offering tax breaks to game developers, but Savannah, Georgia is offering something extra - free office space for a year.

Non-profit group The Creative Coast Alliance and the Savannah Economic Development Authority have teamed up on the incentive program in order to attract game developers to the Georgia city.

The free space is located in the Game Development and Digital Media Center which is presently being constructed in an upscale, riverfront office building. Officials are also touting Savannah's lower cost of living as compared to other game development hubs, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and Montreal.

Game designer Brenda Brathwaite, who chairs the Interactive Design and Game Development department at the Savannah College of Art and Design, commented on the city's advantages:

Savannah has what game development companies need in talent, tech and quality of life. In
today's economy when so many developers are laid off and looking for that silver lining, the Savannah offer is incredibly welcome and offers developers a chance to start a studio on more stable footing.

On a related note, game developers may also qualify for Georgia state tax incentives of up to 30%.

5 comments

ESA Has Georgia on its Mind (and in its checkbook)

January 29, 2009 -

Game publishers lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association gave generously to elected officials in Georgia during 2007-2008, according to public records uncovered by GamePolitics.

Nearly three dozen politicians of both major parties received $27,200 in campaign contributions from the ESA during that period. Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D) received the largest amount, $3,500.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Baker appeared in a 2007 public service announcement which promoted the video game industry's ESRB rating system.

The large number of contributions to individual legislators may be explained in part by the Georgia legislature's 2008 passage of a tax incentive program for game development. For its part, the ESA declined to discuss specifics of its political contributions.

UPDATE: We noticed this morning (Feb. 1st) that FollowTheMoney.org, the search site we used in preparing this story, is no longer showing any ESA contributions to Georgia officials. It's unclear why, but we have contacted the site for an explanation.

26 comments

Is City's Plan to Build Virtual World a Waste of Tax Dollars ???

December 26, 2008 -

Last week GamePolitics broke the news that Decatur, Georgia was gathering information in the hope of building an avatar-based, virtual world (think Second Life / PlayStation Home) interface for its citizens.

Not surprisingly, there are those who see such a project as a waste of tax dollars.

Conservative blog Say Anything writes:

To help spur economic growth in their community the city leaders in Decatur, Georgia area creating an online virtual version of their city on Second Life.

Because I’m sure that’s just what those in Decatur who are struggling with economic downturn want.  Their tax dollars spent on a video game. I’ve born witness to some pretty sillly moments in economic development history, but this one takes the cake.

The whole idea of keeping taxes high so that politicians can spend the revenue on “developing” the economy is bogus to begin with, but spending those tax dollars on a video game takes a special kind of stupid."
 

Via: inDecatur

11 comments

Georgia Guv Candidate Promises Video Game Legislation

September 27, 2006 -

In Georgia, Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor is now making a bid for the top job. The Democrat is running TV spots promising to legislate video games.

It's the second ad we've seen in the last 24 hours that seems to equate the threat of violent video games with that posed by online predators. The other is from Ed Perlmutter (see following article) from Colorado.

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Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

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IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
ZippyDSMleeOh gaaa the free market is a lie as its currently leading them to no one living there becuse they can not afford it makign it worthless.04/16/2014 - 3:24pm
 

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