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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 12, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Report: Game industry helped by Washington biz climate

A new report says Seattle is one of the country’s three most conducive areas to video game development, along with San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.

The report by the Washington Interactive Network comes as the Legislature hashes out its budget, but network director Kristina Hudson said the industry isn’t pushing any particular bills this session.

Instead. it’s hoping the state will maintain tax incentives for high tech research and development and watching the state’s new taxes on digital distribution.

Hudson said the study’s goal was to find the top game development regions and figure out if any was dominant. It analyzed Seattle, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and San Jose.

It drew on earlier reports quantifying the region’s game industry, which employs more than 15,000 at more than 150 companies in the western Washington. Excluding Microsoft, those firms grew employment 14 percent from 2006 to 2008, to 5,070 jobs in the Puget Sound region.

The conclusion was that three cities — Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose — are in the “top tier” worldwide, based on the number of firms, educational institutions, cost of living, cost of business and available engineering, multimedia and animation talent.

From the conclusion:

Much of the infrastructure is in place to keep Seattle competitive. Seattle ranks among the top tier regions in the nation in overall competitiveness in the Interactive Media sector, along with the Bay Area and Los Angeles and international leaders such as Vancouver, Tokyo and Seoul. Two factors that continue to push the Seattle region ahead of its competitors are the region’s historic strength in wireless talent and technologies, and the significant lower cost of doing business.

Hudson’s group plans to post the report online this week.

Comments | Topics: business climate, Microsoft, Public policy

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