Thursday, December 1

Governor Hochul Announces Applications for New York State’s First Ever $25 Million Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program Now Open

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Governor Kathy Hochul has announced initial applications are now open for the first ever New York State Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program to support games that begin development on or after January 1, 2023. The New York State Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program is intended to grow the digital game development industry across the state and accelerate economic development by offsetting some production costs. This is a $25 million tax credit that will award up to $5 million per year for five years.

“New York is consistently at the forefront of innovation in emerging industries, and digital gaming is no different,” Governor Hochul said. “Through the $25 million tax credit, we’ll help grow this thriving industry in New York, create jobs and drive investment throughout our communities. Now is the time to show developers why our state is the place to invest in the future of digital gaming.”

Governor Hochul also announced New York will be the first state in the nation to lead a statewide pavilion at the 2023 Game Developers Conference — a premier industry event held in San Francisco from March 20 until March 24. New York has started to recruit businesses to join the delegation. Additionally, Governor Hochul unveiled New York State’s new digital game development logo that will accompany all games incentivized through this program and developed in New York State.

Empire State Digital Gaming Media Production Credit Program

New York State is one of the nation’s leaders in the digital game development industry, offering a comprehensive ecosystem for digital game studios to thrive, due to unparalleled strengths in advanced technology, creative arts and entertainment. The New York State Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program is designed to accelerate and attract economic development by offsetting some production costs associated with producing digital games in New York State.

Qualified digital game development studios will be required to submit their initial applications to New York State before beginning a project. Once the project is completed and the final application is audited, applicants can receive tax credits of up to 25 percent of qualified production costs in New York City and 35 percent outside of the New York City metropolitan commuter transportation district.

To qualify, the entity must be engaged in a qualified digital gaming media production and must have a minimum of $100,000 total production costs. A minimum of 75 percent of the total production costs must be incurred and paid by the Applicant for work performed and/or services rendered in New York State for the digital gaming media production to qualify. The project must begin on or after January 1, 2023.

Eligible expenditures for qualified productions include:

  • Any costs for wages or salaries paid to individuals, other than actors or writers, directly employed in the creation of a digital gaming media production or productions
  • Payment for services performed in digital gaming media productions predominantly in the development, design, production, editing, and composing of digital gaming media
  • Costs may not include expenses incurred for the distribution, marketing, promotion, or advertising content.

For companies larger than 10 employees, the salaries of executive staff are not eligible. Maximum qualified costs of $4,000,000 per project may be used in the calculation of the Digital Game Development Tax Credit. Up to $100,000 in wages and salaries paid to any individual directly employed may be used in the calculation of this credit

Applications can be found on the Empire State Development website here.

Game Developers Conference 2023

New York will be the first state in the nation to lead a statewide pavilion at the 2023 Game Developers Conference, the digital game development industry’s premier event, taking place March 20-24 in San Francisco. The pavilion showcases the growth of game development across New York State — home to top companies and iconic games — and to top-ranked university game development programs that are creating a pipeline of industry talent.

New York State is currently recruiting game development companies interested in joining the statewide pavilion in March. Businesses interested can learn more about the initiative here and can contact NYDigitalGameDev@esd.ny.gov to share their interest.

The state has invested more than $20 million in Digital Game Development at New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rochester Institute of Technology to build industry innovation and collaboration through mentoring and community outreach, which reflects strategic support for industry growth. These centers have created more than 120 jobs and led to the development of more than 110 games.

Empire State Digital Gaming Logo

New York State’s new digital game development logo certifies that a game has been developed in New York State, and will be required for projects applying for the credit program. The Empire State Digital Gaming Logo is available here.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Investing in businesses clusters such as New York State’s burgeoning video game industry is attracting developers, studios and other facets of the industry to the state. The New York State Digital Game Development Tax Credit will ensure that we continue to strengthen the video game ecosystem, which will attract jobs and investment to New York State.”

State Senator Neil Breslin said, “New York State is home to some of the most creative individuals in the burgeoning digital gaming industry.  The creation of the Empire Digital Gaming Media Tax Credit will now help to foster an economic environment conducive to its growth.  I applaud both Governor Kathy Hochul and Commissioner of ESD Hope Knight for their commitment to see that New York State becomes the epicenter to this thriving industry.”

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “The Digital Game Tax Credit is yet another critical tool in the box to grow the digital gaming industry here in New York.  I firmly believe this credit will inspire economic development in our gaming cluster communities such as Troy, Albany, and Saratoga in the Capital Region but also throughout the state including the North Country and the Rochester areas.  In addition, this credit will help attract and retain young creative minds to call New York home which speaks to the expansive and inclusive quality of life we as New York residents enjoy. I strongly advocated for funding the Empire State Digital Gaming Media Production Credit Program in the NYS Budget and carried legislation to support funding for this important credit. I appreciate the efforts of Governor Kathy Hochul, Speaker Carl Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and our local gaming industry leaders who brought this important program to fruition.”

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of Empire State Development is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, Empire State Development strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. Empire State Development is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the state’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit http://www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov/ and http://www.esd.ny.gov/.


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