Monday, 15 August 2011 20:19

Louisiana Gov. Jindal Announces Digital Game Gameloft New Orleans Base

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Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal joined Gameloft S.A. executive Samir El Agili to announce the establishment of a major new game development studio in New Orleans by Gameloft, one of the world's largest publishers of digital and social games. Based in Paris, Gameloft will create 146 jobs during the next decade with jobs over time averaging more than $60,000 a year, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development began active negotiations with Gameloft officials in New York in 2010; and in less than a year, the company selected Louisiana over multiple other locations. Louisiana's digital media tax credits initially interested Gameloft, and an effective talent recruitment strategy led by Louisiana FastStart™ helped finalized the deal. Gameloft operates more than two dozen studios worldwide and employs about 4,000 people in game development. The company gained recognition as the 2011 Developer of the Year for mobile games from PocketGamer, a U.K. publisher that tracks trends in the industry.

Gov. Jindal said, "Gameloft's decision to establish a major new development studio in New Orleans is one of the most exciting project wins in Louisiana's recent track record of growing digital media projects. We're excited to bring one of the world's leading publishers of digital and social games to our state, and we're particularly excited that our young people in New Orleans no longer have to look beyond our state's borders to find some of the most exciting career opportunities in the world."

In its first year, Gameloft will hire 20 employees and has set a goal of publishing at least one shipped title created entirely by its local team in New Orleans. The company has yet to determine where its permanent studio in New Orleans will be, but it will open Oct. 1 in temporary space. By the second year, it will employ 53 skilled professionals in game development, and that number will grow to more than 100 by the fourth year.

"As we seek to expand our presence in the U.S. we are looking for the most talented gaming professionals to help us maintain our position as an industry leader in digital and social games," said Samir El Agili, Gameloft general studio manager for the U.S. and Latin America. "New Orleans presents the perfect opportunity to not only draw from a rich talent pool, but to incorporate the unique and world-class culture in which the studio resides into our own as well."

To secure the Gameloft studio project, LED offered the company performance-based grants of $1.5 million at the outset to cover the costs of establishing the studio; $2 million, payable in 10 annual installments, to offset leasing or financing costs for the studio; and $200,000 to defray relocation costs borne by the company in setting up its New Orleans operation. The company examined a number of metro markets in the U.S. as possible sites for its next game studio, but New Orleans emerged as the front-runner and the final choice on the strength of Louisiana's digital media incentives, which provide tax credits of up to 35 percent on Louisiana-based payroll, and on the ease with which the company has been able to interest high-quality talent to work in New Orleans.

Ranked as the No. 1 workforce development solution in the U.S., Louisiana FastStart created a job recruitment website for Gameloft that in a short time attracted 700 skilled, qualified applicants, 60,000 page views and nearly 2 million impressions on the Web with the aid of an aggressive social media campaign.

"Time and again, the value of Louisiana FastStart for prospective employers has risen to the top ranks of reasons why companies choose to expand or relocate to Louisiana," LED Secretary Stephen Moret said. "Gameloft certainly is no exception, and we're delighted that we could prove to this leading game development company, as we have to businesses in many other sectors, that Louisiana truly can deliver a talented, ready and capable workforce from day one."

"Gameloft's decision to open a major studio in greater New Orleans is an emphatic validation of the potential for software development in our region," said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. "Further, it demonstrates the unprecedented effectiveness of the partnership that exists between the state, GNO Inc. and our local partners. Gameloft was a team effort, and we can expect many more victories together."

(From JIndal press release)

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