Digital Gaming and Education Bill Passed in NC in July

News Release

State Legislators pass economic development bill for the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Design & Development Industry in North Carolina

Linda Savanauskas
(919) 907-0522

July 2010, Raleigh NC – State legislators worked into the early morning July 10 to pass an economic development bill providing a tax credit for Interactive Digital Media (IDM) that hire programmers within North Carolina. Industries likely to benefit most from this bill are education, military, government, and corporate training.

“The RTP area is a hub for development of entertainment games and advanced learning technologies, and this bill will help keep it that way,” said Linda Savanauskas, a Raleigh digital education specialist and owner of Savvan Consulting.

Savanauskas said that the entertainment industry generates revenue in RTP/NC, with 5 of the 10 leading global game engine companies located here. She added, “North Carolina is also a leader in the education industry’s immersive technologies, known variously as advanced learning technologies (ALTs), 3Di (i standing for “immersive”), and serious games.

Savanauskas helped build early support for this effort by educating key legislators. In early spring, she arranged meetings with key ALT business leaders and government officials to discuss the monetary and training value of the local entertainment game industry and educational games.

“Alex Macris, President of Triangle Game Initiative, and Richard Kristof, President of American Research Institute, and I met with NC State Rep from District 41, Chris Heagarty,” Savanauskas explained. “Later, Charles Hayes of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership and I met with Lt. Governor Walter Dalton to address the competition for our gaming developers. Florida, Texas, Ontario, and Toronto are all huge in the digital game space. We don’t want to lose this vital economic engine and highly trained work force to them – or anyone.”

RTP’s socio-economic environment is an ideal incubator for the digital entertainment business, due to its numerous colleges and universities that graduate specialists in physics, science, art and technology. NC Universities promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Additionally, curriculum design in (STEM) education for kindergarten through bachelor’s degree programs is one of the State’s initiatives. Income for the typical technical developer with a two-year degree typically starts at $45K – $95K, rising with a bachelor’s degree and specialized experience.

For further information about the NC IDM bill or digital gaming and serious games, contact:

• Alexander Macris, Triangle Game Initiative and Themis-Group.
• Linda Savanauskas, Savvan Associates.

2009-2010 Session
Interactive Digital Media Credits (IDM)
House Bill 2000
Senate Bill 1394
House Filed: May 25, 2010

May 26, 2010 – House Passed first reading
May 26, 2010 – House referred to: Commerce, Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Finance if favorable

May 26, 2010 – Senate Filed
May 26, 2010 – Senate referred to committee of Finance

Sponsors: House Representatives Gibson, Martin, Heagarty, Owens, (Primary Sponsors); Wray
Senator Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. Introduced the bill in the Senate

Referred to: Commerce, Small Business, Entrepreneurship, and Finance if favorable
An act to enact tax incentives for gaming companies

July 10, 2010 – IDM – Bill Passes in the House, as the economic development bill and now it goes to the Governor for her signature. The House was able to secure the headquarters credit and provide an across the board 15% credit. If a company does collaborate with a participating community college or university, then up to 20% of expenses may be eligible for the credit.

The table above lists critical legislators and dates for the IDM Credits bill.

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About Linda Savanauskas

An accomplished talent management professional with experience in curriculum design, development of learning strategies, and professional skills development training programs for the workplace. Collaboration in training programs includes small and medium size businesses (SMB) to larger organizations from Raleigh to Charlotte, North Carolina. Virtual instructor led training can be offered to any location.