Lending support to the ongoing campaign to provide tax credits to New York-based game development, the NYU Game Center, members of the NYC IGDA, and representatives from the New York City games industry joined Senator Martin Golden and Assemblymember Joseph Lentol at a City Hall press conference, urging Governor Cuomo to sign the Empire State Digital Gaming Media Production Credit (A.10083/S.7485) bill into law. If you would like join us in supporting this legislation, we encourage you to write or email Governor Cuomo and describe how the bill would benefit you or your company. More information about the bill and contact information for the Governor’s office are included below.

The bill, which has been passed by both legislative houses in Albany, would offset 25 percent of digital games production expenses done within the state. Expenses include property used or wages and salaries paid to game developers, for areas such as concept creation and game design. The goal of the incentives is to grow New York’s share of the $25 billion U.S. gaming industry, which currently hovers at around 1 percent. The incentives are similar to those currently available to the film and television industries.

“New York has always been a world capital for creative industries, attracting the most talented and ambitious people from around the globe. As games continue to grow in creative power and commercial impact, we have the potential to become a thriving hub for what may be the most important and influential cultural form of the 21st century,” said Frank Lantz, Chair of the NYU Game Center at the Tisch School of the Arts. “We are excited that our legislators are committed to providing the support needed to make this vision a reality.”

According to Empire State Development, which administers a similar film tax credit, the state earmarks $420 million per year in tax credits to film and television productions, allowing for a 30% reduction to below-the-line expenses, which covers everything but the director, producer, writers, and actors with starring roles. A study by Boston Consulting group estimated the tax credits directly resulted in an increase of 30,000 jobs since 2004, and contributed an additional $2 billion to the local economy. The recently passed legislation aims to have a similar impact on growing the digital gaming industry in New York. It also includes credits for the music production industry. If signed by the Governor, the digital gaming tax credits would be available starting in 2017.

Since 2008, the Game Center has consistently offered free and public events to a growing games community in New York, including the Lecture Series, No Quarter, and the 2016 Global Game Jam. Many of these events are made possible by a recently awarded grant from New York State Empire State Development. In addition to more free, open-to-the-public events, ESD support has enabled an expansion of the successful NYU Game Center Incubator to include developers outside NYU. The Center looks forward to continuing the work with the community and with legislators to develop a thriving center for game development in New York City. 

The Game Center has expressed our support in a letter. You can review our letter for your reference here.

You can review the full text of the bill here.

Letters of support should be mailed to:

Alphonso David
Counselor to the Governor
Executive Chamber
New York State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

And/or emailed to: legislative.secretary@exec.ny.gov