April 5th, 2006

Georgia Approves Tax Breaks for Game Developers

Gamasutra reports that digital-savvy legislators in Georgia have passed a bill which gives digital entertainment producers tax credits for activities such as editing, animation, coding, special effects, and sound. GamePolitics first reported on the Georgia legislation last November, noting that State Rep. Ron Stephens (left) and Governor Sonny Perdue, both Republicans, were solidly behind the tax breaks.

Production companies will even have the chance to transfer costs incurred outside Georgia's borders to facilities in Georgia, with some restrictions. To make the pot a little sweeter, bonus tax credits are available for certain counties

Greg Torre, director of the Georgia Department of Economic Development's (GDEcD) Film, Video & Music Office, was pleased with the announcement:

"We see interactive entertainment as a vital element in the entertainment industry as a whole. Since Georgia has colleges and universities dedicated to cutting-edge technology sitting alongside mainstays in the broadcast industry, this tax incentive seems an ideal way to highlight the fact that Georgia can be an incubator for new and exciting entertainment technology. All the resources are here. Now, we help publishers afford it."

Georgia is home to several digital entertainment developers, such as mobile phone game developer Blue Heat, streaming technology company GameTap, 3D game engine builder and multimedia host Kaneva, machinima production company RoosterTeeth Productions (Red vs. Blue & The Strangerhood) and online developer Studiocom.

CM: It's great to see at least some governments acknowledge that game companies are no longer two guys operating out of a garage. Perhaps when game developers generate as much tax-revenue and regional economic benefits as the movie industry (that should be happening real soon now), politicians will be a little more reluctant to use them as their electioneering punching bags...

-Reporting from Saskatchewan, GP North American Correspondent Colin "Jabrwock" McInnes

Mexican Presidential Candidate Stars in His Own Video Game

When two-thirds of your country's population is under 30, it's just smart politics to reach out to younger voters.

The youth strategy has served Mexican Presidente Vicente Fox well in the past. The incumbent grabbed 60% of the 18-30 year-old demographic in his last campaign. The San Diego Tribune reports that Mexico's current crop of presidential candidates are keenly aware of this.

From hanging out with soccer teams, to student-oriented campaign stops featuring rock bands and dancers, to political rallies in trendy nightclubs, all three major candidates are chasing the youth vote.

The youngest of the presidential hopefuls, 43-year-old Felipe Calderon (left), like Vicente Fox a member of the National Action Party even stars in his own online video game, featuring Calderon as a superhero who zaps other candidates (portrayed as dinosaurs).

The Mexican political hopefuls face a daunting task in getting out the vote. While young voters are the most numerous, they are also the most apathetic. In the last election they turned out at half the rate of older voters. Mexico's presidential election is scheduled for July 2nd.

-Reporting from Saskatchewan, GP North American Correspondent Colin "Jabrwock" McInnes