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Will Film Incentive Program Cuts Drive Video Game Companies Out of Texas?

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune
Naveen Nattam (left) and Sean Riley play games during their lunch break at Twisted Pixel, a video game company in Austin.

The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program offers grants for companies who hire Texans for projects in-state. The Coen Brothers' True Grit was filmed in Texas, largely due to the state's incentives.

But the Legislature cut the incentive program this year by two-thirds — more than $60 million. Those changes take effect tomorrow.

And while there’s been a lot said about the effects the cuts will have on the film and television industry, there’s another industry which will also be impacted: the video game industry. 

LocoCycle, a motorcycle racing game distributed by Microsoft, is produced here in Austin by Twisted Pixel, one of the many video game companies in Texas. 

“Texas is ranked number two for video game industry in the country, second only to California,” says Tom Foulkes, Vice President of State Government Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association. Foulkes says the growth of the video game industry in Texas — and especially Austin — has largely been thanks to the incentive program. He says the cuts were disappointing.

“I certainly believe there is some development that will go elsewhere, but you know, Texas is very strong, and I think people will work with the talent that is located in Texas.”

Foulkes says the industry will definitely be pushing for more funding the next time the Legislature meets.

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