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Video Game Cloud Streaming Service, BitRaider, to Relocate Headquarters to Baton Rouge

Gov. Bobby Jindal, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and BitRaider MMO LLC CEO Royal O'Brien announced that digital media gaming company, BitRaider, will relocate from Jacksonville, Fla., to the Louisiana Technology Park in Baton Rouge.

BitRaider, which owns patented technology that allows users to download and stream video games from the cloud, will create 22 direct jobs at the tech park, with average annual wages of $51,000, plus benefits. LED estimates BitRaider will generate another 35 indirect jobs in the regional economy, for a total of 57 new jobs.

The company will invest approximately $450,000 to equip its space in the technology park. To support its work, BitRaider is expected to make use of Louisiana's digital media tax credit program. Prior to 2009, BitRaider would not have been eligible for the digital media tax credits, but changes in state law that year clarified that software companies, as well as video game development firms, may qualify for the incentive. BitRaider also will work with LED's Louisiana FastStart™ program to obtain hiring and training assistance, so that it may begin operating in the technology park this summer. Company officials plan to apply for Louisiana's Research and Development Tax Credit as well.

O'Brien said, "It was a combination of the tax incentives and strong economic development programs, as well as the people and community we discovered here that persuaded us to relocate our fast-growth startup to Baton Rouge." Besides Florida and other states, BitRaider considered a move to Canada, where digital media tax credits are available, but the company found a more complete package in Baton Rouge.

Baton Rouge continues to be a major destination for digital media sector gaming companies like BitRaider. Other digital media gaming companies to expand or re-locate in Baton Rouge recently include, Firebrand Games, EA, Nerjyzed and Yatec Games.

Area Development first reported on Baton Rouge's burgeoning digital media sector in a late 2009, Front Line story, in which we reported on a major gaming company's - Electronic Arts (EA) - decision to partner with Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge to create a global quality assurance center at the university.

At The time Philip Holt, an EA vice president and studio general manager, remarked that Baton Rouge offered, "the best set of incentives in the country for the game industry".

Now, EA plans to significantly expand employment at its North American Test Center, or NATC, following a relocation of the NATC from its existing site on LSU's South Campus to the new Digital Media Facility on LSU's main campus. EA is close to maximum employment capacity at its current LSU South Campus location. Once EA shifts operations to the new Digital Media Facility sometime in 2012, employment is expected to quickly increase from approximately 400 jobs to more than 600 positions, including on-site contractors. Originally in 2008 the NATC was anticipated to create 20 full-time jobs and 200 part-time jobs. Already the direct employment at the facility has increased to about 200 full-time positions, including direct EA positions and full-time contractor positions and 200 part-time positions.


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