Author Topic: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma  (Read 2028 times)

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Offline ezknight.okceca

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Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« on: January 22, 2009, 12:08:55 PM »
Senator Sykes of Oklahoma has introduced a Senate Bill that would apply rebates currently offered to movies and television to game developers. If this bill passes they will be able to get 15% of all operating costs back provided they spent a minimum of $500k and 50% of their staff are residents and employed in the state of Oklahoma.

http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/2009-10SB/SB644_int.rtf

The only downside I see so far is that he includes a provision that the rebate will only apply to games rated T and below. There is no equivalent provision on TV and movies.

That is something I need to talk to Senator Sykes about.
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Offline loriencfau

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Re: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 06:22:54 AM »
What do we need to do to make this happen, other than threatening people with bodily harm?
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Offline Furyswrath

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Re: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2009, 02:15:36 PM »
they need to make it to where since Game Dev's can only do Rated T games, then Movie Producers can only do PG-13.  Make it Equal.

Offline ezknight.okceca

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Re: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 10:49:17 PM »
News 4 had some coverage of this bill. They don't have a dedicated clip. It is in the middle of another and I don't have the means to break it out of the rest. I tried to record it myself but the tv was on the wrong channel and I was not home when it came on. If anyone recorded this, could you post just this clip somewhere.

Here is the clip. The coverage starts at 5:38

http://www.kfor.com/global/video/flash/popupplayer.asp?ClipID1=3417462&h1=Thursday%27s%20NewsChannel%204%20@%206%3A00%20p.m.&vt1=v&at1=News&d1=620966&LaunchPageAdTag=Search%20Results&activePane=info&rnd=3367081

They ended up getting a "video game fan" and the owner of a game store. The story revolves around how the bill with the restriction on M rated games will have a terrible time trying to attract developers to the state.

They were unable to get Sen. Sykes in an interview. So he doesn't get to say anything.

I would have liked to hear some input from actual industry reps. Not sure if they just didn't have time to get comments from them or what.

Overall it seems fair in its criticism of the bill. It did not delve into "the evil video games" angle which is nice to see.

Hopefully, this will help the Senate to change their minds.
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Offline PlayNTradeEdmond

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Re: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 11:50:43 AM »
I was the store owner interviewed in the NewsChannel4 story. Jesse Wells (the reporter) is a gamer himself and he comes to see us whenever they have a game related story. In theory, this bill is a good idea and I have no problem with the " no M rated" stipulation. However, as I stated in the piece, with all of these devs and pubs cutting staff and closing alotgether, who is going to spend the money to move their operation (and people) here? No one. It's a bill that is 3-5 years too late.

As for the Senator, the report said "He did not want to defend his legislation." They asked for comment and, apparently, he refused.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 12:03:14 PM by PlayNTradeEdmond »

Offline ezknight.okceca

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Re: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2009, 12:30:46 PM »
I was the store owner interviewed in the NewsChannel4 story. Jesse Wells (the reporter) is a gamer himself and he comes to see us whenever they have a game related story. In theory, this bill is a good idea and I have no problem with the " no M rated" stipulation. However, as I stated in the piece, with all of these devs and pubs cutting staff and closing alotgether, who is going to spend the money to move their operation (and people) here? No one. It's a bill that is 3-5 years too late.

As for the Senator, the report said "He did not want to defend his legislation." They asked for comment and, apparently, he refused.

Hey, thanks for the input. I wouldn't say the bill is too late to the party, but the ratings restriction would certainly make developers think twice about moving here. I was approached for comment by Jesse, but as a representative of the ECA we don't have an official position on the issue.

AS a programmer looking to start up game development, I would like to see Oklahoma make itself more friendly to game development. They failed in that regards back in 2006 when they tried to pass game sales restrictions and they are failing now by adding ratings restrictions to this rebate bill.

It is a difficult time for developers to move and I certainly wouldn't want to see them uproot just to get tax incentives. But as the economy improves, more developers would be able to open shop or expand.

My major concern and reason for supporting getting a tax rebate system for game developers is that Oklahoma has at least 4 schools offering actual game related degrees and many more offering game related classes. We are training people to be game developers but offering no options for them to be employed in state. They will all have to leave the state to get employment. By offering a competitive tax incentive, more studios would look this way when they want to expand and more students could start small scale studios in the state.

But this bill suffers fro ma competitive disadvantage with the ratings restriction.
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Offline PlayNTradeEdmond

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Re: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2009, 01:05:03 PM »
You make some good points about the local talent angle and the future.

In my opinion, this industry is beginning to move away slightly from the "only M rated titles sell" myth. Nintendo is the leader in this, obviously.  Mario Kart Wii was the biggest mover of software units in 08 according to NPD. EA is beginning to follow suit saying that they are now going to devote more of their resources to dev and pub for the Wii. I believe a developer can be successful and not do M rated titles. They just have to be quality games.

If I were in the House or Senate, I would vote for the bill since it has no upfront costs. However, I am skeptical of it's impact.


Offline ezknight.okceca

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Re: Rebates for Game Developers Introduced in Oklahoma
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2009, 02:01:12 PM »
You make some good points about the local talent angle and the future.

In my opinion, this industry is beginning to move away slightly from the "only M rated titles sell" myth. Nintendo is the leader in this, obviously.  Mario Kart Wii was the biggest mover of software units in 08 according to NPD. EA is beginning to follow suit saying that they are now going to devote more of their resources to dev and pub for the Wii. I believe a developer can be successful and not do M rated titles. They just have to be quality games.

If I were in the House or Senate, I would vote for the bill since it has no upfront costs. However, I am skeptical of it's impact.



Personally, I am not concerned about the M rated games thing either as I have no plans to make any ever. But there are a lot of developers that make a variety of games and if they have any M rated games in their development pipeline, that will make Oklahoma less profitable than other states that offer tax incentives without ratings restrictions.

There is also the minor concern that someone making a game and shooting for a T rating can theoretically add a little too much blood or something and push them over the edge into an M rating. It wasn't intentional but it happened. If they for some reason can't appeal the rating or are unable to to spare the time and resources to edit the game, they will no longer be able to apply for tax rebates for the game although they were planning on it at the beginning of the project..

Finally, the language lists specific ratings, if for some reason the ESRB collapses or changes the ratings (ie dropping AO and changing from T and M to t-13, T-16 and M-18, the law would have to be revised to change the language. If the ESRB is no longer rating games and the new ratings system is not the same, they will have to revise the law. So future proof is out.

It could become more of a headache in the long run.

One final concern I brought up and the report brought up as well, say a movie studio were to make an R rated movie in Oklahoma and a game developer made the game based on that movie in Oklahoma. The game would most likely get an M rating as the source is R rated. Now the movie studio would get the rebate but the game studio making a game on the same source material would not get the rebate. Hardly fair toward the game developer.

All in all, this bill with that provision is very unattractive to any studio wishing to start up or move to Oklahoma. Sure there are a few studios that deal primarily in E-T rated games, but any game developers wishing to make any M rated games whether that is one or a lot, will look elsewhere. Oklahoma would do itself a great favor by dropping the provision completely.

EDIT: One other point, this bill with the ratings requirement forces game developers to seek a rating for all games. Last I checked PC games require no rating unless sold in stores. Flash games require no rating to be distributed. So in effect they are limiting the scope of rebates even further.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 02:20:53 PM by ezknight.okceca »
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