Here in Louisiana, IGDA and our gaming developer community are constantly growing! We are proud to announce two IGDA chapters in Louisiana, one in Baton Rouge and the other in New Orleans, both of which started in the last six months. We are making great strides in our efforts to grow our industry and the wellbeing of the developer community. Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI) is working closely with state, private and public organization to make sure IGDA communities foster and continue to grow.
Production Incentives: Our first step in building a stronger gaming hub in Louisiana was the creation of the Digital Interactive Media Tax Credit program, which has developed into the most advantageous tax credit and incentive program for developers not just in the United States but all of North America. Louisiana’s programs provide the most aggressive business incentives for the design and development of software, web platforms, mobile applications, digital interactive media applications, digital media, and web applications for digital gaming industries.
Growth: Louisiana is proud to announce several projects this year within our industry: new expansion of EA North America – to increase their labor force by 200 quality assurance testers; BitRaider – a new MMOG solution provider to get gamers in their MMO’s quicker without multiple hour downloading time; FireBrand Games, a leader in racing console game development both of which landed in the Louisiana Technology Park; the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) – a private training college for the digital arts and game design programming in Lafayette; Gameloft – a leader in mobile game development is now recruiting talent for a New Orleans operations, Scorch Digital Studios – an indie outsourcing game development studio, and Game Builder Studio – which is a new startup building 2D game engine so players and small studios can create games much faster. With IGDA, LDGI, and other Louisiana stakeholders offering assistance, we will be having many more projects to be announced throughout the year.
Education: Talent generation is one of the many industry needs that Louisiana is undertaking through different educational programs. One of these programs is LSU Avatar, which is a leading producer of qualified local talent within Baton Rouge. The Mentorship Academy, also located in Baton Rouge, is teaching high school students digital media. Other collegiate programs and universities that are now implementing game design, programming, and digital arts include University of Lafayette, University of New Orleans, Baton Rouge Community College and Delgado Community College. Finally, with the addition of AIE in Louisiana, we are sure to never short on skilled, talented game developers.
Resources: Louisiana features a variety of agencies that are supporting the growth of the digital media industry within the state. Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) is providing visionary support for the training of serious gaming and simulation functions for the development firms that operate in Louisiana. Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) is working with LITE to recruit digital gaming firms to use their resources, as well as the fiber optic bandwidth the city enjoys. Louisiana Technology Council (LTC), a technology trade association, is sharing its expertise and the collective knowledge of its members in order to promote digital media throughout the state. Both the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO Inc.) have digital media economic development organizations, BRADIC (Baton Rouge Area Digital Industries Consortium) and GNO Inc.’s DMA (Digital Media Alliance), which exist to promote and encourage digital media production in their local regions. Baton Rouge hosts the annual Red Stick Festival, which includes an international competition to promote the advancement of digital media and 3D animation productions.
Facilities: Louisiana is fortunate to have technology incubator facilities, such as Louisiana Technology Park. The facility allows a small independent game studio to benefit from affordable office space, subsidized utilities, and additional amenities. Louisiana Technology Park also provides an entrepreneur center for education and counseling called Tech Park U. Other facilities include Launch Pad that offer affordable spaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creative professionals in the newest concept in collaborative workspaces in downtown New Orleans. Financing options, consultancy, and investment funds are growing and making themselves more available to Louisiana’s digital gaming industry. South Coast Angel Fund, Advantage Capital, and Voodoo Ventures are a few of these firms that are working to provide funding for the digital media industry.
Benefits: The benefits directly associated to the digital media industry pale in comparison to the high quality of life and low cost of living that Louisiana affords to all industries. The state has not reached its final goal despite becoming an international focus point for digital media, software and video game manufacturing, but we are getting nearer every day. Louisiana and IGDA of Louisiana endeavors to promote the growth of developers and increase the level of awareness of the digital media industry in the state of Louisiana. IGDA and Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative, and also with the help of its members, consultants, and in concert with the variety of digital media friendly organizations, will keep the focus where it belongs: on entrepreneurial opportunities, networking events, community support, and overall industry growth and IGDA members.
Cheers and Game On,
President of IGDA Baton Rouge
Executive Director and Founder of
Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI)