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Massachusetts Considers Tax Credit Incentives for Video Game Developers

June 10, 2011

In 2010, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling moved his 38 Studios to Rhode Island from Massachusetts. Losing the video game production company to its neighbor to the south was considered a “Strike Out” by the Commonwealth state. The company plans on bringing hundreds of jobs to Rhode Island by the end of 2012. Ouch! It was a high profile economic loss for Massachusetts.

In 2010, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling moved his 38 Studios to Rhode Island from Massachusetts. Losing the video game production company to its neighbor to the south was considered a “Strike Out” by the Commonwealth state. The company plans on bringing hundreds of jobs to Rhode Island by the end of 2012. Ouch! It was a high profile economic loss for Massachusetts.

One of several economic incentives that brought 38 Studios to Rhode Island was the RI Film Credit. Unlike the MA Film Credit law, RI law allows video game developers to qualify for the film credit. The Rhode Island Film and TV Credit is an incentive which allows for a transferable credit of 25% of qualifying costs incurred by a developer in Rhode Island. Massachusetts has a similar incentive; but as currently written, the law does not include costs to develop video games as qualifying costs for their Film Credit.

Backers of a proposal to change the current Massachusetts law to allow video game developers to qualify for the MA Film Credit argue it will bring needed jobs to the state. Those opposing say the state needs all the tax revenue it can get. They also argue the state should not be in the business of picking “winners and losers” within various industries.
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