Grand Theft Auto: Atlanta, anyone?
That title may not be far off, if the state of Georgia gets its way. Its latest goal, in the name of economic development, is to become the video game production capital of the United States.
Earlier this week, the state's Republican governor, Sonny Purdue, signed into law a proposal to offer greater tax incentives not only to game producers, but also to music video, movie, and TV production projects.
"The new incentives will put Georgia among the top five states in the U.S., in terms of financial competitiveness for entertainment projects," Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said in a statement. "We expect to see an increase in the number of industry jobs and overall economic impact for the state in the coming years."
Under the 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act, eligible companies that spent at least $500,000 on production costs in the state would be eligible for a 20 percent tax credit on that investment, up from the 9 percent that was previously on the books.
The companies can qualify for an extra 10 percent tax credit, too, but only if they agree to embed promotional ads and animated Georgia logos in their content.
According to a statement from Peach State, the entertainment industry has contributed more than $1.17 billion to Georgia's economy since 2005, when the first wave of tax credits took effect. Georgia, of course, is home to Turner Broadcasting System, the high-power media empire that includes CNN, Cartoon Network, and game network GameTap.