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Q&A with Louisiana Economic Development’s Joshua Fleig
Joshua Fleig is director of business development for Louisiana Economic Development, the state government agency tasked with strengthening Louisiana’s business environment and economy.
What is the local video game industry like in Louisiana?
We’re seeing a lot of momentum in the video game industry in Louisiana. Electronic Arts in Baton Rouge was our first big interactive win a decade ago. We’ve also added High Voltage Software, inXile Entertainment, and TurboSquid in New Orleans and the indie developer Pixel Dash Studios in Baton Rouge. We’re hoping to welcome a few more studios across the state later this year.
What do you think attracts these companies to Louisiana?
Our Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive is best-in-class and one of the only programs targeted to the video game industry. You won’t find a more valuable program in the US, so that’s a big pull for companies.
We’ve also just created a first-of-its-kind entertainment overhead incentive – the Qualified Entertainment Company tax credit. Louisiana Economic Development, along with regional economic development organizations like Greater New Orleans Inc., the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, offer incredible support for companies during the expansion process. From finding locations, to workforce recruitment, to local tours acquainting employees and their families with the area, each organization offers invaluable service and support to help the expansion process run smoothly.
Our higher education partnerships help companies coming to Louisiana find exactly what they need in graduates. The University of New Orleans now has a game development concentration in the undergraduate computer science program, and Louisiana State University offers a master’s curriculum in digital media arts and engineering. All of these components are great motivators, but what really attracts companies is Louisiana’s culture. Nowhere else will you find as rich a culture coupled with a competitive cost of living.
Continue reading the full Q&A here.
Almost 600 Video Game Camps Will Be Held in the US This Summer
“School’s out” is just another way of saying “camp’s in session.” This summer kids across the country are attending video game design programs and summer camps in huge numbers.
ESA recently published a list of US video game design programs and camps available this summer on its website. The list, which continues to grow, shows 569 camps are being held across 213 cities and 47 states.
“Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we start engaging students in STEM at an earlier age,” said Julie Shannan, deputy director of STEM education program and summer camp provider Girlstart. “The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in STEM-related occupations will grow to more than nine million by 2022 – an increase of about one million jobs since 2012.”
Ninety percent of American teens play video games – 97 percent of teen boys and 83 percent of teen girls – according to a recent Pew Research Center Survey. Meanwhile, employees in the video game industry earn an average annual compensation of $97,000, and the Higher Education Video Game Alliance reports high rates of job satisfaction among alumni of college and university video game programs.
“At Girlstart every activity has a STEM career connection, so girls become familiar with the types of future careers they could have in game development, and they meet positive STEM role models they can look up to in careers they may have one day,” Shannan said. “Girls learn that hard work and resilience are important to be successful programmers, and creativity is an essential part of solving the world’s greatest STEM challenges.”
ESA’s list of video game design camps, organized by state, features links to the camp websites. To view the list and find camps in your state, click here.
Tennessee Adds Video Games to Tax Incentive Program, Seeks Industry Input
Tennessee made music history again in May, when it joined Georgia as one of only two states in the nation to offer tax incentives for video game scoring. Legislation signed by Gov. Bill Haslam expands the state’s tax incentive program for film and television to include video games and standalone post-production scoring.
“Tennessee is globally recognized for the unique quality of our musician talent and studios,” said Bob Raines, executive director of the Tennessee Entertainment Commission. “With some of the fastest-growing US markets for tech talent, we believe this incentive provides an opportunity to become a first-look location – not only for scoring but also for video game development.”
“Last year, three of the top four bestselling video games in the world were scored in Nashville – Madden NFL 18, Call of Duty WWII, and Destiny 2,” added Corey Johns, director of business development at the Tennessee Entertainment Commission.
The commission plans to have a program in place for the expanded tax incentives in the third quarter of 2018, but first, it is reaching out to the video game industry in Tennessee and across the country to help shape its parameters. Raines indicated the program will be user-friendly, competitive, and play to Tennessee’s strengths and economic advantages.
To further reach out to the video game industry about the program, the commission has also set up a brief survey it is asking members of the industry to complete. Responses will be considered in the development of the program.
“We’re really interested in hearing about the best way to structure this to meet the real-world needs of the industry and help it grow in our state,” Johns said. “Recognizing that the video game industry has changed significantly in the last decade, we’re seeking input about how to meet video game companies where they are in today’s environment.”
Participate in the Tennessee Entertainment Commission survey by clicking here.
Another Study Finds No Link Between Video Games and Aggression
More and more, researchers are finding no link between so-called violent video games and aggression. One of the latest studies to support this finding, published in Molecular Psychiatry in March, examined the long-term effects of playing games.
“Taken together, the findings of the present study show that an extensive game intervention over the course of 2 months did not reveal any specific changes in aggression, empathy, interpersonal competencies, impulsivity-related constructs, depressivity, anxiety, or executive control functions,” researchers wrote. “The present results provide strong evidence against the frequently debated negative effects of playing violent video games.”
To examine the long-term effects of playing video games, the researchers divided the study’s 77 participants into three groups – 25 participants who played Grand Theft Auto V, an active control group of 24 participants who played The Sims 3, and a passive control group of 28 participants who were not given access to video games. After baseline testing, the participants given a video game were asked to play it daily for two months. Researchers tested them again immediately after the two month play period and two months after the play period ended.
Researchers noted in their findings that they designed their study to address shortcomings in their field, namely that the short-term effects of playing video games are “far from consistent as multiple studies fail to demonstrate or replicate them.” Outcome measures of aggression and pro-social behavior are poorly standardized, do not easily generalize to real-life behavior, and may have led to selective reporting of results, which the researchers of this study addressed by including a large set of outcome measures.
‘ESA Cast’ Episode 5: Adam Sessler
Former X-Play host Adam Sessler joins the ESA Cast to discuss his new video game-focused social listening platform Spiketrap.io, his views on current video games media, and why E3 2017 was his favorite. Reed and RAD also review the latest E3 Coliseum announcements and talk about the latest Fornite in-game event.
In the News
Games Account for 75% of App Store Spending
Gamers Map Brain, Discover Six New Neuron Types
How Video Games Inspired New Mexico’s Wildest Art Collective
Ashland University has its First Fortnite Scholarship Player
A VR quest to make you care about endangered species
Statistic of the Month
More than two-thirds of American parents
play video games with their children
at least once weekly.
(ESA’s Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry report)
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