Turbo mode for video game development in Capital Region

The burgeoning video game development industry is kicking it up a notch in upstate New York.

Empire State Development has announced plans for Rocket Science Corporation’s new $1.6 million headquarters in Glenville in Schenectady County. The 8,200-square-foot facility on Saratoga Road will house the international gaming developer, along with the Capital District Gaming Studio, a video game incubator and game developer certification facility.

ESD is awarding Rocket Science approximately $1.2 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for the creation of 30 jobs, and a $200,000 grant for construction and renovation costs. Michael Yevoli is the Regional Director of the Capital Region’s office for Empire State Development.

“Anytime we can announce bringing a worldwide digital gaming company to a firehouse in Glenville, Schenectady County, I think is a great a great announcement for New York State, for the Capital Region and for Schenectady, and for the town of Glenville,” Yevoli said. “Rocket Science Games, their investment in this project, not only for themselves, and what they’re going to bring as far as new job and investment for the company, but also for the industry with a Capital District Gaming Studio. So you know, the goal is to really grow the industry from the ground up. They’re going to offer incubator space, some certification facilities, partnerships with local colleges, SUNY Schenectady and University at Albany. So it’s really a holistic approach to growing the industry.”

Guha Bala is President of Velan Studios in Troy.

“It really is possible at this point for small teams to make a big impact and be unique and innovative,” Bala said. “But they need support when they’re small.”

State Assemblymember John McDonald, a Democrat from the 108th district, has been a huge supporter of the new Empire State Digital gaming tax credit.

“It was approved in last year’s budget and as of January 1 is now up and running,” said McDonald. “And the intention behind the tax credit is quite simple. Many other states and countries have been really working to recruit the digital gaming industry to come to their communities. New York State was way behind schedule. Fortunately, Governor Hochul saw fit and signed it included in part of the budget last year.”

McDonald, who moderated a panel discussion about the tax credit program Friday, says the application process for small, independent entities is now open and live online.

“We had some very constructive conversations about the fact that we need to flood the zone, maximize this credit, demonstrate that it has value,” McDonald said. “The video game industry is only gonna get larger, one way or the other. Right now, it’s $184 billion industry in the United States of America. The film industry is now looking to incorporate the digital gaming in their productions. New York state cannot be left behind in this aspect, we need to make sure we’re competitive. And to be very clear, there are other states that are throwing hundreds of millions of dollars, if not half a billion dollars to these companies. New York State is starting off small. We’re about $15 million, but it’s a start. The door’s open. Let’s demonstrate its value, and demonstrate the economic return.”

Republican Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle says he’s thrilled Rocket Science is coming to the town.

“Not only are they rehabbing an old dilapidated building, they’re bringing new high tech jobs and really trying to help revitalize a commercial corridor,” Koetzle said.

If you are interested in more details or have specific questions about the Program, email digitalgametaxcredits@esd.ny.gov.

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