Business Incentives for Game Developers

In case you missed it, Game Industry News recently ran an article titled, “Georgia Makes Tax Breaks For Game Developers A Law.” It references House Bill 958, which contains a measure that provides significant tax breaks for video game developers who choose to work within the state.

There is good reason for this bill. The mobile gaming industry in Georgia is definitely in its growth phase. Atlanta’s telecom industry roots makes it a natural fit for mobile app development. A cluster of media and marketing companies are attracting graphic design, animation and digital media talent to the city as well. In addition, Atlanta has the largest number of digital agency workers per capita.

Atlanta-based indie studio, Dragon Army is just one example.

Georgia has all the natural resources to build great companies and in particular, startups. Terrific universities, great corporations, excellent airport, and a hard to beat cost of living. With all the creative and technical talent in this state, it was the perfect place for me to start my gaming company, Dragon Army.

Jeff Hillmire, CEO of Dragon Army

The Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA) in conjunction with Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP (HA&W), the largest Georgia-based tax, accounting and business consulting firm conducted the first economic impact study on Georgia’s video game and digital entertainment industry. Here is an overview of stats from 2012:

  • Total labor income: $527,735,257
  • Direct Effect Output: $757,800,000 (sales)
  • Total GDP Contribution: $1.029 billion
  • State Tax Revenue: $48,499,057
  • Exports: $47 million of value was added into Georgia’s economy (as of Sept. 2012)

Total economic activity will reach $1.9 billion for the year 2013, up from $73 million in 2008 when video game development was still a nascent industry here. While many parts of the U.S. economy are still cautiously optimistic, the video game development industry is on a high-growth trajectory, internationally and nationally. By 2017, nationally the industry will reach $16.1 billion in revenue, according to leading research house, IBISWorld.

Georgia is the first state to put a program on the books incentivizing the growth of the digital industry. Couple this with 20 Georgia colleges and universities with gaming programs, and you can see why companies such as EA, the $4 billion California-based firm that develops, markets, publishes and distributes some of the industry’s most successful games such as Madden NFL and The Sims, began collaborating with the Savannah College of Art and Design back in 2007. SCAD has seen enrollment increases in the School of Game Design Program; meanwhile, Georgia Tech continues to lead as a hub for computer engineering and computer science.

Did you know that wages for employees in the game and app development industry – from “casual-style” video games to productivity apps – are 99.6% higher than the average salary in Georgia? Thinking this will be a good degree for my sons to pursue.

Benefits for the game industry include a 30 percent tax credit, solid technology infrastructure, a steadily growing workforce and an established game and digital media industry. Check out the digital gaming companies that are already here in Georgia.


Contact GDEcD

For more information on Georgia’s public-private business partnerships, contact the Georgia Department of Economic Development at 404.962.4000.

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