Mass. Lt. Gov. wants game tax credits tied to job creation

Massachusetts is the fifth largest state for game industry employment in spite of better developer incentives in other states. Nearly 1,300 industry jobs exist in the Commonwealth, but a recent profile of Irrational Games by The Improper Bostonian covers how the state's grip on gaming could slip if it doesn't step up studio stimulus.

A bill for game developer incentives has been floating around the Mass. legislature for about a year, but hasn't gained traction with lawmakers. The state currently provides heavy cuts for the movie industry, despite the game industry pumping more cash into local economies.

"It's ironic," Irrational Games' director of product development Tim Gerritsen said. "If you look at it, where do you want to put your money? We've got 120 permanent employees. They spend all their money here. They pay their rent here. They pay their taxes here. Do you want Dane Cook? He's here for two weeks doing a film, and he's gone."

"When you talk about tax incentives, that's less revenue that you're receiving, so I think any kind of incentive would have to be linked to hard commitments from the private sector," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who is coming off a win by keeping PAX East in Boston until 2023. The convention will also make donations totaling $325,000 over the next 11 years to MassDiGI.

The state did lose a major studio last year when former Red Sox player Curt Schilling's 38 Studios moved to neighboring Rhode Island for a $75 million loan. The state isn't likely to lose established studios like Harmonix, Demiurge and Turbine. The problem comes founding or incubating new studios without concessions.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.