North Carolina's Game Industry

One step forward and two leaps back?

I truly was lost for words when coming up with the name of this article. Why, you ask? Well this was supposed to be an article of the All hail the mighty Carolinian governmen!variety until I stumbled across a bit of news that left a rather sour taste in my mouth.

A new law was passed in the state that grants tax breaks of epic proportions to game developers. Governor Beverly Perdue signed into law a bitt that endows “wages and compensation for employees involved in digital media production, or the creation of a platform or engine to run such media.” This is epic! *This is unreal! The electronic arts that will be promoted by this bill will be simply ubisoft!…wait. (Just in case you didn’t get it, NC-based Epic Games, will be the huge ones getting the dough, and let’s not forget EA, Ubisoft, and Havok to name a few.

Publishers, developers and governments use tax breaks like Ezio wields the hidden blade. It’s a weapon, either for financial defense (which seems to be the case in North Carolina) or aggression. With Canada’s relentless siren call of tax incentives, if other countries and states don’t step up their game, The Great White North will continue its Tim Hortons-fueled march to eventually developing most of the world’s video games.

That sound great right? Happy rainbows and unicorns? Well with the same breath, Governor Purdue is forcing 900 Internet gaming cafes to close up shop by December 1st.

The governor said any videogame gambling operations in the state should be subject to an “organized, unified system of regulation” to ensure “standard rules and regulations” while avoiding “profiteering.” However, a spokesperson said this comment should not be construed as support for video poker legalization.

Prior to the Governor’s signing the bill, the Entertainment Group of North Carolina had sent her a letter urging her to veto it. EGNC president Bill Thevaos of Owl Music Co. (Charlotte) said the group favors legalization and regulation of risk-reward gaming in the state, which could create a $3 billion a year market that would generate some $500 million annually in state tax revenue, according to research posts on

Sweepstakes videogames typically simulate slot play, and some Internet cafes reportedly had offered prizes of several thousand dollars to winners. But operators say their sweepstakes games — despite being linked to slot, keno, or poker simulations — don’t award prizes from server-based prize pools of the sort used by the casino-style online game programs. Instead, prizes are paid to winners based on predetermined sweepstakes rules similar to those that govern many retail promotional campaigns conducted by companies such as McDonald’s.

It looks like there’s still some more shaking up going on in the gaming industry. I wonder why the governor signed the two bills almost back to back. Either way, we all need to stay aware of how the chaning laws and legislatures affect the things we love.

Thanks Joystiq|Vending Times

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