Gameloft, an international video game maker, plans to open a studio in New Orleans.
In the next 10 years the move is expected to create 146 jobs paying about $60,000 a year plus benefits, the company announced Monday.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
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, Louisiana Economic Development said.
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.
“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,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal in a statement.
To secure the technology company, the state offered Gameloft some $3.7 million in performance-based grants, assuming key benchmarks such as job creation are met. Also, Gameloft will take advantage of Louisiana’s digital media tax credit program which provides credits for 25 percent of the base in-state investment, and another 10 percent if those production costs include Louisiana payroll. And there is no ceiling on how much those production costs may rise. The tax credits can be applied toward the company’s own state tax burden or sold on the open market to other companies looking to reduce their own tax bill.
Digital media is an industry sector the state has aggressively recruited in the last several years, attracting gaming and similar technology firms to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport. The economic impact to the state by the digital media industry went from $5 million in 2009 to an estimated $12.8 million in 2010, according to a 2011 analysis report by the BaxStarr Consulting Group.
Founded in 1999, Gameloft S.A. is based in Paris, employs more than 4,000 developers and distributes its games in 100 nations. Gameloft creates games for all digital platforms, including mobile phones, smartphones and tablets, set-top boxes, connected TVs and consoles.
The company operates more than a dozen studios worldwide.