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NY panel pushing for video game tax credit

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - It wasn’t too long ago that when you thought of video games, you imagined a college student sitting on a couch with soda and chips. That stigma has changed in the past few years, and now everyone wants their piece of the video game industry.

In the past few years, the video game industry has exploded and in 2015 where it was estimated to be worth close to $17 billion.

Places like the Silicon Valley and Seattle are all competing for these high tech corporations since they bring more jobs and economic growth to the city. Now New York is ready to enter the game.

“We’ve been missing out, we’ve only got maybe one percent of the business when you look at the international global scale,” Assemblyman John McDonald (D-Cohoes) said.

“One challenge for all of us is just growing the community as a whole. Another big challenge for us is cost,” Simon Ebejer, Chief Operating Officer for Vicarious Visions, said.

Vicarious Visions has partnered to create games such as Destiny 2, Crash Bandicoot, and Guitar Hero. Ebedger points out that New York lacks a tech community which can deter many prospective programmers.

“If we can get enough people here and grow the community to be a large enough self-sustaining ecosystem, it’s not about necessarily having to import everybody all the time. We are bringing people up from the colleges,” Ebejer said.

Assemblyman McDonald says he aims to do exactly that by co-sponsoring a bill that will provide a tax credit to video game developers.

“This isn’t focused on, we’ll give you money and build something. It’s more about if you hire people, you employ people, you do these projects, and we will give you a credit.”

Assemblyman McDonald is urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to include the tax credit in the 2018 budget, which might prove challenging since the state comptroller says New York could face a very large budget deficit next year.

“We still need to grow our communities. We need to still grow our region. We need to find more jobs for these highly trained individuals so they can be a part of our economy.”

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