Gameloft S.A., one of the world's largest publishers of digital and social games, has announced it will establish a major new game development studio in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's anticipated that the project will create 146 jobs in the next 10 years (average salary: over $60,000 a year, plus benefits).
In its first year Gameloft said it will hire 20 employees-and work towards its goal of publishing at least one shipped title created entirely by its local team in New Orleans. The company has yet to determine where its permanent studio in New Orleans will be, but will open October 1 in temporary space. By the second year, Gameloft expects to employ 53 skilled professionals in game development, and employ over 100 workers by the fourth year.
Founded in 1999, Gameloft S.A. is based in Paris, France. It employs more than 4,000 developers and distributes its games in 100 nations. The firm creates games for all digital platforms, and was named "2011 Developer of the Year" for mobile games by PocketGamer, a U.K. publisher that tracks industry trends.
Gameloft looked at multiple metro U.S. markets for its next game studio. However, New Orleans emerged as the final choice on the strength of Louisiana's digital media incentives (they provide tax credits of up to 35 percent on Louisiana-based payroll), and on the company's ability to easily interest high-quality talent to work in New Orleans.
To secure the Gameloft studio project, Louisiana offered the company performance-based grants of $1.5 million at the outset to cover the costs of establishing the studio; $2 million (payable in 10 annual installments) to offset leasing or financing costs for the studio; and $200,000 to defray relocation costs borne by the company in setting up its New Orleans operation. In addition, Louisiana FastStart created a job recruitment website for Gameloft that quickly attracted 700 skilled/qualified applicants, 60,000 page views and nearly two million Web impressions with help from a social media campaign.
"As we seek to expand our presence in the U.S. we are looking for the most talented gaming professionals to help us maintain our position as an industry leader in digital and social games," said Samir El Agili, Gameloft's general studio manager for the U.S. and Latin America. "New Orleans presents the perfect opportunity to not only draw from a rich talent pool, but to incorporate the unique and world-class culture in which the studio resides into our own as well."