Video game giant brings headquarters to New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - One of the biggest names in gaming has chosen New Orleans for his new headquarters as the video game design industry is really starting to blossom across the region.
Staff of Possibility Space is already unpacking in the Pan-Am building on Poydras.
The studio is drawing from talent from around the world remotely and is the third jewel in the crown of gaming giant, Jeff Strain, who has founded and sold two video-game companies.
“We’re really trying to build on ramps into this industry for emerging talent and that’s not something that there’s been a lot of opportunities for people in this area in the past,” Strain said.
Strain expects to also pull from a local, growing base of talent because of all of the recent STEM education investment in the city. He also hopes that the industry heavyweights from around the world he is working with can serve as mentors.
“What we want to do is make sure that they have a place to go when they graduate,” Strain said. “What we don’t want is for the state to be investing all of these resources and providing STEM education and then for them to graduate and feel like they have to move to the West Coast or the East Coast in order to fulfill their careers.”
Possibility Space is hoping to fill 75 positions over the next few years that pay at least $100,000.
A handful of gaming companies have already put down their Louisiana roots, three in New Orleans alone.
“We’re beginning to have a legitimate cluster, they can compete not just locally, but also against other national cities, even places like Montreal and Canada,” Michael Hecht with GNO Inc. said.
“We’re in New Orleans for love,” Strain said of the move.
Strain’s wife, Annie, went to Loyola and always wanted to come back to the Crescent City.
“For us, it was a question of can we go back? Can we live where we want to live and start investing or taking some of the opportunities that we’ve had in this industry and reinvesting that expertise and infrastructure here?”
It’s not just the irresistible culture for Strain, however. It has to make financial sense.
“Fortunately, the state of Louisiana makes that very easy,” Strain said.
GNO Inc. has been working on wooing the Strains for five years now with two tax incentives. One is the Software Development Incentive.
“You could submit to the state and get 25% of the cost back of those people who are actually doing the programming, so it’s less expensive to hire programmers, or you can pay your programmers more,” Hecht said.
Possibility Space is already well underway producing games that are a departure from Strain’s World of Warcraft or State of Decay days.
“Games that really build a more profound reason to be playing because increasingly people are using games as their social connections, this is where they build their communities,” Strain said.
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