Judge Rules Louisiana Shooting Was an 'Accident,' Boy Thought Gun Was a 'Toy'

August 29, 2013 - James Fudge

While the media immediately jumped to the conclusion that an 8-year-old boy who shot his elderly grandmother was somehow motivated by playing Grand Theft Auto, it looks like they were completely and utterly wrong. What police initially called a "homicide" has been ruled an accidental shooting, according to the Huffington Post.

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RNCC Uses 'Duck Hunt' in New Political Attack Ad

August 14, 2013 - James Fudge

A new attack ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) pays homage to the classic Nintendo light gun game Duck Hunt while assailing Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. The ad features the famous backdrop of the Duck Hunt game and displays ducks marked with various issues - such as Obamacare, energy, taxes, and 12,000 jobs for the Gulf Coast - that Sen. Landrieu "misses" on. At the end of the 41-second ad, a familiar dog laughs at all of the antics.

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iFest 2012 Invades Lafayette, Louisiana This Weekend

August 3, 2012 -

The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (Lafayette, Louisiana) will be hosting its annual Independent Game Developers Festival (iFest) at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise(LITE) Center on Saturday August 4th (10am - 5pm).

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Breaks Ground on New EA Facility

July 27, 2011 -

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal joined Electronic Arts Head of Worldwide Quality Assurance Mike Robinson, LSU Chancellor Michael V. Martin, and Mayor-President Kip Holden at a ground breaking ceremony of the 94,000-square-foot Louisiana Digital Media Center. The new facility will be home to 600 video game development workers and LSU's Center for Computation & Technology.

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Louisiana Enhances State Digital Media Tax Credits

July 12, 2011 -

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has signed a bill into law that improves the state's existing tax credits for the entertainment industry - which includes game developers. The addendum to the state's Digital Media Tax Credit will soon offer game developers doing business in Louisiana benefits as a refundable credit rather than a transferable credit. This allows those that are eligible for it to receive a cash rebate if the credit amount ends up being more than the outstanding tax liability for the year. Of course, the law still gives game developers a 25 percent tax credit on software production in the state and a 35 percent credit for state payroll taxes devoted to software development.

Louisiana policy makers say that these tax credits have been "instrumental" in attracting large companies into the state. For example, EA recently announced plans for an expansion of its game testing facility on the LSU campus.

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Firebrand Games Races to Baton Rouge, Louisiana

December 8, 2010 -

Glasgow, Scotland-based video game maker Firebrand Games is coming to America - or more precisely, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. City Officials said Tuesday that Firebrand Games of Glasgow plan to move into the Louisiana Technology Center and employ 30. The company expects to have an annual payroll of about $1.5 million USD. Besides developing games, the new studio houses a quality assurance hub for the company's entire product line.

Firebrand creates racing games for Nintendo Wii and PC, but plans to expand development to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The company developed TrackMania for Wii, TrackMania Turbo for DS, the DS version of Planet 51, Need for Speed NITRO for DS, and many other titles.

Source: CNBC


Saints March in for ESRB PSA

September 28, 2010 -

For its latest public service announcement to promote videogame ratings awareness, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has employed a pair of Super Bowl champions.

New Orleans Saints wide receivers Marques Colston and Devery Henderson appear in the spot, in which they inform a clueless consumer buying a game for his son that he should check the rating on the game before purchasing it. The commercial was launched via a press event at a New Orleans area GameStop, with State Senator Daniel Martiny (R-Metairie) and State Representative Jeffrey Arnold (D-New Orleans) in attendance.

The PSA will run on GameStop’s in-store network nationwide, appear on the video board at Saints home games and also run on television and radio stations throughout the state of Louisiana.
Colston added, “I play a ton of video games, and while most of them are OK for kids, some of them are clearly intended for older players.”

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Louisiana Testing Game-based Learning to Keep Highway Workers Safe

August 31, 2010 -

In order to make its safety training more appealing to workers, the Louisiana Transportation Research Center’s (LTRC) Transportation Training and Education Center (TTEC) is trying out a pilot program that involves videogame-based teaching.

The center is now testing a simulator that allows participants to man an on-screen avatar as they run though required procedures in simulated work zones. Activities center on properly flagging equipment, operating flags correctly and following other correct safety actions.

TTEC Associate Director Glynn Cavin told 2TheAdvocate that the new training may eventually replace the currently employed conventional classroom method, which some highway workers find “unappealing,” to which he added, “It just doesn’t work well.”

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Stolen 360 Leads to Execution of Three Brothers

August 18, 2010 -

The small Louisiana town of Keithville, located in the northwest corner of the state near the Texas border, is the location of a grisly murder scene that started with a stolen Xbox 360 and ended with the death of three brothers late Monday night.

Jerimiah (20), Jarquis (18) and Jean (13) Adams were all found shot to death in a car, victims of thirty-three year old alleged gunman Marcus Donté Reed (pictured). The Shreveport Times reports that Reed lay in wait for the brothers and opened fire on the car with an assault rifle because he thought at least one of the Adams trio was responsible for stealing Reed's Xbox 360 from his girlfriend’s home on Monday.

The house of Reed’s lady friend was described as a local hangout and it was reported that the Adams boys may have been at the house on that day, though Sheriff Steve Prator said,” We don't have any indication they were actually in the house that night,” adding, “I'm not sure the extent of the relationship they had.”

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Louisiana's GameStop Bandit Given 40 Years

August 17, 2010 -

A 29-year old who robbed at least four GameStop stores last year in Louisiana was sentenced to 10 years for each incident, giving him a total of 40 years in prison.

Gregory Reaux (pictured) was an ex-GameStop employee, who was fired from the videogame retailer in 2008 for “improperly using employee discounts and store deals,” according to NOLA.com. A graduate student, Reaux robbed the GameStops armed with a box cutter while wearing a “cut shirt sleeve as a mask.” He reportedly absconded with several thousand dollars from the robberies, along with “various merchandise.”

An earlier story detailing Reaux’s arrest put the tally of robbed stores at six, in the towns of Slidell, Jefferson Parish, Hammond, Walker and Denham Springs, Noting that he had not yet robbed a store in Mandeville, officers staked out the local GameStop and promptly busted Reaux as he was preparing to commit his next crime.

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Developer Incentives Already Paying Off for Louisiana

October 5, 2009 -

A new Electronic Arts videogame testing facility located on the Louisiana State University campus has the state of Florida worried about a full-court press to lure developers to the Bayou State.

While EA was not looking to open a new testing center, reports the Orlando Sentinel, incentives signed into law earlier this year by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) were “too good to pass up.”  The facility at LSU should eventually grow to comprise 200 part-time student workers and 20 full-timers, some of who moved over from Maitland, Florida-based EA Tiburon.

Craig Hagen, EA's director of government affairs for North America, offered:

Florida is at risk of not being competitive with other states relative to these incentives programs. I understand the fiscal pressure that Florida faces, and it is a difficult thing, but they need to realize the economic incentives are what should grow the economy and turn the pressure down."

The article also notes that in order to prepare its students for jobs with developers, LSU is now offering a digital-media-based curriculum.

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Left 4 Dead 2 Writer Calls Racism Charges "Utter Insanity"

August 3, 2009 -

In mid-July GamePolitics reported on Houston Chronicle game blogger Willie Jefferson's assertion that video games are increasingly possessed of "racist undertones."

In support of his claim Jefferson mentioned the much-debated Resident Evil 5 as well as the recently-released Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. Jefferson also pointed to Valve's in-development Left 4 Dead 2 (screenshot at left):

I am disturbed by the growing trend of racist undertones that are cropping up in video games.

One of the games that comes to mind is "Left 4 Dead 2." ...Set in New Orleans, players will have to fight their way through hordes of zombies - with several of them who appear to be African-Americans. When I saw the first trailer for the game, all I could think about was Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath...

In the wake of Jefferson's charge, a writer for L4D2 has fired back, reports Destructoid:

While visiting Valve this past week, we asked how they felt about the [racism] accusations, and Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek was quite frank with his response.

"Utter insanity," says Faliszek... "There are mixed races of zombies, there are all different races of zombies that you shoot, and since we placed it in New Orleans, that makes it racist? I honestly re-read the [Houston Chronicle] paragraph about five times ... but when two of the characters in your game are African-American, it's a weird thing to be accused of. We're like, 'how does this work'?

"... As far as Katrina goes, if you go down to New Orleans, Katrina's still going on. I mean, it's messed up, it is crazy that the city is still in the state it's in, and we treat that with the utmost respect... It's a place we love, it's dear to our hearts. We would not cheapen it. It's not a brick-for-brick representation of New Orleans; it's a fictional version, and I love that city."

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Louisiana Guv Signs Game Biz Tax Breaks Into Law

July 10, 2009 -

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has signed into law a package of tax breaks designed to bolster video game production in the state, according to the Associated Press.

Jindal also approved several other bills providing tax breaks to non-game related sectors. While some critics have questioned the wisdom of giving up state tax revenue in a troubled economy, Jindal referred to the incentives as "critical tools":

By signing these bills, we're ensuring that we not only have the ability to remain economically competitive, but that we can continue to move our state forward by making Louisiana the greatest place in the world to find a great paying job and raise a family.

A press release on Gov. Jindal's website offers a bit of information on the video game bill:

SB 277 by Sen. Ann Duplessis is similar to Governor’s package bill HB 457, which extends and expands the Digital Interactive Media Tax Credit by permanently extending and increasing the credit by 5 percent creating a single rate of 25 percent of expenditures plus an additional 10 percent for Louisiana resident payroll expenditures (35 percent total credit for resident payroll). The bill also expands the definition of digital media to include technology companies.

UPDATE: Game publishers lobbying group ESA issued a press release praising Jindal for signing the tax break into law. ESA boss Mike Gallagher's commented:

We commend Governor Jindal for his strong leadership as well as that of Senator Duplessis for expanding the state’s computer and video game development and production base, and helping lead the way in creating the next generation of entertainment innovation in Louisiana.

 

Developers and publishers live and work for years in states where games are created, providing a higher return on investment than any form of entertainment.

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Louisiana Funds Game Design Project for School Students

June 30, 2009 -

Some Louisiana school children are experiencing the art of video game design first-hand, thanks to a state-funded program.

2theAdvocate reports that middle- and high-school students in the Zachary and Lafayette School Districts are creating educational games that, hopefully, are also fun to play. One of the teams' projects is focused on developing sources of clean energy. Along the way, students have received advice and feedback from game industry professionals.

The program is funded by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development's Digital Workforce Initiative.

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Louisiana Bill Targeting Sexually Explicit Games Dies in Committee

June 19, 2009 -

Louisiana Senate Bill 152 began life as a clone of Jack Thompson's failed Utah legislation and died quietly this week in the Commerce Committee of the Louisiana House, according to The Old River Road, a blog which tracks Louisiana politics. Although we haven't yet seen a post about SB 152 at TORR, blogger Charlie Buras dropped us a line via Twitter last night to say the bill expired in committee.

Between birth and death SB 152 was completely reworked by its sponsor, Sen. A.G. Crowe (R). As for Thompson, he was nowhere to be seen in the process. The truth in advertising legal theory advocated by the disbarred Miami attorney quietly morphed into proposed civil sanctions against those who would distribute sexually explicit material to minors. The need for such legislation is not entirely clear, since such conduct is already an offense under Louisiana criminal law.

Although Crowe's Senate colleagues passed the bill overwhelmingly, House members seemed less impressed. At a hearing earlier this week the bill was diverted to the Commerce Committee.

UPDATE: The Times-Picayune has more details, including word that the Commerce Committee voted 12-2 to kill the bill. The estimated $1.6 million cost to administer the bill didn't help any. (GP: thanks to longtime reader BearDogg-X for the link!).

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Passed By Louisiana Senate, SB 152 Targets Sexually-Explicit Content

June 11, 2009 -

By a 35-0 vote yesteday, the Louisiana Senate passed SB 152, a bill which would make a pattern of distributing sexually explicit material to children a deceptive trade practice under state law.

GamePolitics readers may recall that in its original form, SB 152 was drafted by disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson as a back-door means of enforcing ESRB content ratings. The original SB 152 mirrored Thompson's Utah bill, which was vetoed by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) in March. However, bill sponsor Sen. A.G. Crowe (R, at left) subsequently gutted Thompson's focus on age ratings from the bill, amending it instead to its new focus on the distribution of sexually explicit material to minors. It should be noted that distributing such material to minors is already an offense under Louisiana's criminal statutes.

Unlike the Utah bill, SB 152 doesn't make reference to video games, advertising, age ratings or any specific product, for that matter. However, Sen. Crowe did mention video games as an example during yesterday's session:

This body has over the years passed numerous laws to protect our children... And with the growth of...  the market of materials that would be considered by most of us here objectionable as it relates to obscenity such as that is found... in video games either rented or purchased, could fall again into the hands of some of our children. So it is a step in the direction of moving, passing legislation that would allow for, again, protecting our children from this type of thing...

Oddly enough, SB 152 specifically excludes the Internet from its provisions. These days the online world would seem the most likely source for a child to stumble upon sexually explicit material. 

The nature of sexually-explicit conduct defined in the bill would seem to exclude any ESRB-rated video game published to date. It seems clear that a game meeting the standard defined in the bill would have already been rated Adults Only (AO) by the ESRB. Curiously, the bill does not relate its provision for sexually-explicit conduct to the legal definition of obscenity. Should the bill eventually be signed into law, this could prove to be a fatal flaw from a constitutional sense.

Now that it has been passed by the Senate, the next stop for SB 152 is the Louisiana House of Representatives.

GamePolitics readers can watch yesterday's debate on SB 152 by clicking here. Scroll down to "Chamber" for June 10th. The SB 152 segment begins at 4:01:39.

UPDATE: A knowledgeable video game industry source criticized SB 152 in comments to GamePolitics:

The bill as passed by the Senate is clearly unconstitutional. It would penalize the sale of sexually oriented material to minors, but does not require that the material be legally obscene for minors, referred to in Louisiana as 'harmful to minors,' or 'obscene,' as U.S. Supreme Court precedents mandate. This was the same flaw that doomed the Illinois 'sexually explicit video games' law.
 
While it might seem that mainstream retailers have little to fear from the amended bill, as they don't carry pornography, the fact that a single depiction in an otherwise unobjectionable video game, DVD, or other material could open a retailer to liability is of grave concern.

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In Louisiana, Jack Thompson Bill Gutted By Sponsor, Deferred

May 21, 2009 -

SB 152, the Louisiana Senate bill drafted by Jack Thompson, underwent a rather odd hearing yesterday before the Senate's Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs Committe.

The bill, similar to one vetoed recently by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, would have made the sale of an age-restricted item to a minor a deceptive trade practice with potential civil penalties for the seller. As with his failed Utah legislation, Thompson's Louisiana bill was a roundabout way of legislating the ESRB rating system. Although SB 152 did not mention video games specifically, they were clearly the intended target.

However, at yesterday's hearing, bill sponsor Sen. A.G. Crowe (R, at left) proposed amendments which essentially gutted the measure. Crowe told the committee that he "conferred with industry, with staff and with constitutional attornies" on the changes.

Crowe's amendments, which appeared to perplex his Senate colleagues, turned the focus of the bill from age-rated consumer items to pornography. Crowe noted that the original intent of the measure was to protect children from violent video games, but said that concerns over constitutional issues led him to focus on pornography instead.

The sale of pornography to minors is already illegal, however, leading Sen. Danny Martiny (R) to grill Crowe at length about the bill:

Why? What are we fixing? What we're doing here... is we're taking something that's already criminal and making it a deceptive trade practice...

 

It's not very clear at all where you're going with this...

Ultimately, Crowe voluntarily deferred the measure; the amendments changing its focus to pornography were not added. SB 152 remains listed with the Louisiana Senate but is not assigned to a committee. For now, at least, it appears sidetracked.

As for Thompson, he did not testify at the hearing, nor was his name mentioned. GamePolitics asked him to comment about SB 152 but the disbarred attorney declined.

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Watch as Louisiana Senate Considers Jack Thompson Bill Today

May 20, 2009 -

The Jack Thompson-authored SB 152 is scheduled for discussion by Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs Committee of the Louisiana State Senate at 1 p.m. Central Time today.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. A.G. Crowe (R), is similar to the Thompson bill which recently was vetoed by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. SB 152 would hold companies which advertise age restrictions on products guilty of a deceptive trade practice if the product is then sold to someone underage.

GamePolitics spoke briefly with Sen Crowe last week. He told us at that time that he did not expect to have Thompson testify and indicated that the bill as currently written was a "placeholder," meaning that its content was likely to undergo substantial revision. It is unknown what form such revision might take. We also have an e-mail in to Thompson for an update as to whether or not he expects to speak at today's hearing.

GP readers should be able to follow the action live via the Louisiana legislature's webcast system. To watch, click here for the committee list. Just before the hearing begins, a TV icon should appear to the right of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs. Click on the icon to watch the hearing. You'll need to have RealPlayer installed.

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Louisiana Senate to Consider Jack Thompson Video Game Bill Today

May 6, 2009 -

The Louisiana Senate will apparently discuss a Jack Thompson-authored video game bill in a hearing scheduled for later this morning.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs has SB 152 on its agenda for today.

The measure was proposed by Sen. A.G. Crowe (R) and is similar to the Thompson bill which recently passed the Utah legislature before being vetoed by Gov. Jon Huntsman. Like the Utah bill, SB 152 would hold companies that advertise age restrictions on products guilty of a deceptive trade practice if the product is then sold to someone underage.

While video games are not specified in the measure, they were clearly Thompson's intended target in crafting the legislation.

A review of SB 152 indicates that it goes a step beyond the Utah bill by also holding retailers guilty of a deceptive trade practice for selling a product labeled with an age restriction (for instance, an M-rated game) to someone underage. This section seems to be very close to the type of content-based sales restriction which federal courts have consistently found unconstitutional.

In addition, the bill requires retailers to check the I.D. of buyers and to post signage indicating that I.D. will be checked.

GamePolitics has left messages for Sen. Crowe to inquire about the bill. So far, he has not returned our calls. We asked Thompson last night whether he would be testifying on behalf of SB 152 today. He told us it was uncertain whether the hearing would go forward today. However, we reached a staffer in Crowe's office this morning who told us the hearing would take place.

UPDATE: The committe is webcasting its hearing now. Click here for the committee list. Click on the TV icon to the right of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs to watch the hearing. The committe is now discussing SB 29. As I write this the Thompson bill is fifth in line for consideration.

UPDATE 2: We had to wait until the very end of the committee hearing to learn that Sen. Crowe has deferred the SB 152 hearing until next week. Join us then...

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Louisiana Legislators Mull Retention of Game Biz Tax Breaks

April 27, 2009 -

Jack Thompson's recently-introduced bill isn't the only video game issue under consideration by Louisiana lawmakers.

As reported by the Shreveport Times, legislators will consider whether to renew tax incentives for video game, movie and other digital media firms. 

Rep. Barbara Norton (D, at eft) argues in favor of retaining such incentives:

EA Sports... is planning to open an office in the Baton Rouge area because of the digital tax credit. EA Sports will bring high paying jobs and provide an economic boost to the Baton Rouge economy...

We should keep our state incentives to attract high paying, high tech jobs... The Texas legislature is introducing tax incentives to try and pull more film productions from Shreveport back to Texas. Right now Texas cannot compete with us as to incentives Louisiana offers... however they are trying to fix that now.

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) reportedly favors maintaining tax breaks for digital media producers.

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Following Tumultuous Utah Stint, Jack Thompson Heads to Louisiana

April 16, 2009 -

Perhaps Yogi Berra said it best: It's like deja vu all over again.

On the heels of ugly, public dust-ups with both the Utah Attorney General and the President of the Utah State Senate, Jack Thompson is taking his pursuit of video game legislation to Louisiana.

Again.

On Friday Sen. A.G. Crowe (R, at left) will introduce SB 152. The bill, with the addition of a few bells and whistles, is essentially the same truth in advertising measure that passed the Utah legislature in March, only to be vetoed by Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Last week Thompson circulated a press release indicating that a bill "nearly identical" to his failed Utah legislation would be proposed in Louisiana. While he did not name the sponsor, GamePolitics has learned that it is Sen. Crowe. In the press release, Thompson said that he expects to testify before the Louisiana legislature along with "four experts."

Sen. Crowe is apparently untroubled by the acrimony that marked Thompson's 2006 attempt to legislate video games in Louisiana. At that time a Thompson-authored bill unanimously passed both houses of the Louisiana legislature and was signed into law by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The measure was eventually ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, but not before Thompson got into an ugly, public dispute with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office (see: Suddenly Thompson is Feuding With Former Louisiana Allies).

Since Thompson's last chaotic go-round in Louisiana, he was permanently disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court for more than two dozen professional misconduct violations. Thompson has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While the failed 2006 legislation ultimately cost Louisiana $91,000 in video game industry legal fees, it also provided some typically bombastic Thompson quotes, including: Nobody shoots anybody in the face unless you're a hit man or a video gamer.

For more background on Thompson's earlier Louisiana experience, check out The Circus Comes to Louisiana, a piece I wrote for Joystiq in 2006.

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A Roundup of Sin Tax Proposals for Video Games

April 2, 2009 -

We've covered all of these video game sin tax proposals on GamePolitics at one point or another, but Reason has a concise roundup of legislative attempts to levy special taxes on games:

Texas ended up adopting a subtler system, in which the legislature created a video game subsidy and steered the money toward efforts that meet the state's "general standards of decency." I hope that means some programmer in Austin is making a game that lets you smoke some weed with Willie Nelson, hook up with Anna Nicole Smith, and then head down to the Alamo for a bloody standoff with Santa Anna.

The New York Times' Freakonomics blog weighs in on the topic as well:

Some proposals aim to tax only violent games (who knows it if would affect the forthcoming adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, in which sinners are the exclusive targets of horrific violence). Seriously, though, one can see the populist appeal of Louisiana’s “No Child Left Indoors” proposal, which would impose a 1 percent tax on video game equipment and televisions to fund outdoor recreation facilities.

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New Video Game Tax: Louisiana Rep. Mulls "No Child Left Indoors"

March 28, 2009 -

A Louisiana legislator has withdrawn a bill that would impose a 1% sales tax on video game equipment and television sets.

The Monroe News-Star reports that Rep. Robert Billiot (D) hoped to use revenue collected by the tax to create a "No Child Left Indoors Fund." Those funds would in turn be channeled into recreational facilities and state programs to combat childhood obesity.

However, Ark-La-Tax Politics reports that Billiot withdrew the measure while he re-evaluates its revenue potential. The legislator said that he may resubmit the tax proposal before Louisiana's legislative session begins on April 27th.

As GamePolitics reported, A similar measure proposed in New Mexico last year failed to pass.

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Texas, Louisiana Guvs Renew Support for Game and Movie Incentives

March 10, 2009 -

A pair of Republican governors are backing renewed or expanded support for financial incentives to encourage video game and other types of media development.

In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, last year's E3 keynote speaker, proposed a two-year state budget which includes $60 million worth of sweeteners for the entertainment industry, reports KBMT-12. Speaking at a rally in game development hub Austin last week, Perry said that Texas was losing business to competing states New Mexico and Louisiana.

Speaking of Louisiana, the News-Star reports that Gov. Bobby Jindal hopes to renew inventives aimed at video game, film and music production. The packages currently in place expire by 2010:

The proposals will cost the state $8 million a year when investors cash in the credits, he said, but the state gains much more from having movies, recordings and video games produced here.

“We want to make sure Louisiana keeps a competitive edge,” Jindal said at a press conference.

Both Perry and Jindal are mentioned as possible contenders for the Republican presidential nod in 2012.

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Public Officials' Video Game Purchases Face Scrutiny

February 27, 2009 -

At least two public officials are under scrutiny after purchases of video game products with tax dollars.

In Louisiana, Monroe City Schools Superintendent James Dupree (left) has been called on to explain using his business credit card to purchase a Nintendo DS and two games for $195 at a local GameStop last November.

The News-Star reports that, along with the DS, Dupree bought copies of SAT/ACT Coach and Brain Age Training. In a response to the newspaper's request for records, Dupree wrote:

All items were purchased to pilot their usability for SAT/ACT prep and recall skill building in relation to performance target objective No. 1.

Dupree said yesterday that the DS and games are sitting in his office as he has not yet found the time to use them. After checking them out himself, he plans to pass them along to a student.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Michael Gobb, former executive director of the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, has resigned following a spending probe. The state Auditor General's office found more than $500,000 in questionable expenditures by airport execs, including a $4,400 tab at a strip club as well as multiple Nintendo Wii bundles.

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The Big Easy Wants to Get Its Game On

January 12, 2009 -

While the video game development business has been expanding in Louisiana in recent years, officials in New Orleans believe that the Big Easy deserves a larger slice of the pie.

To that end, New Orleans City Business reports that officials there have formed the Digital Media Alliance, a group whose lofty goal is to make New Orleans "a world leader in digital and new media."

Officials point to a similar organization which - along with tax incentives - helped persuade Electronic Arts to establish a game testing center in Baton Rouge last year. From the report:

While the initial focus is on video game designers and Web programmers, the industry includes a broader segment of what [one official] called “knowledge workers,” a description that includes those in creative design to architecture to film to music...

One advantage our area offers is lower labor costs... An employer could pay a programmer $50,000 in New Orleans, but that same programmer would be paid 50 percent more in New York or San Francisco, he said, adding that the programmer’s lifestyle would be twice as good here.

Hecht said it is paramount that the New Orleans region market itself to the industry. During the current economic downturn, the region offers a “combination of culture, cost of living and incentives” and “a very attractive alternative” for the digital media industry, he said.

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Xbox 360 Version of Black College Football Experience Compatible with Rock Band Drum Kit

November 29, 2008 -

Louisiana game publisher Nerjyzed Game Studios is readying the launch of an Xbox 360 version of its Black College Football Experience game, reports The Advocate. The release of BCFx will mark the first-ever publication of a console game by an African-American owned studio.

A national ad campaign for Black College Football Experience will kick off today during the Bayou Classic as Southern University and Grambling square off in their 35th gridiron tilt. BCFx debuted last year on the PC. Of today's launch, Nerjyzed CEO Jacqueline Beauchamp commented:

We’re going to be doing a complete national rollout, and it’s going to start right here in Louisiana first. We actually have six commercial spots on NBC (during the game).

NBC will be highlighting the game during the broadcast (2 p.m. Eastern):

The network will... feature another first, the BCFx Sideline Video Game Zone... NBC will cut back and forth between the actual football game and the action in the Video Game Zone.

“The announcers will say, ‘Southern may be winning 24-10 on the football field. Let’s take a look at who’s winning in the video game,’ ” Beauchamp said.

The network has agreed to cut to the Video Game Zone twice during the broadcast but Nerjyzed is hoping for more, Beauchamp said.

In addition to its football action, of special note is BCFx's drumline game play, which is compatible with the Rock Band drum kit for the Xbox 360. 35 tunes and 65 drum cadences are included.

GP: Unfortunately, the 2007 launch of the PC version generated unkind remarks by some in the game community. Let's hope that the new version is received with greater tolerance. It actually sounds like a very cool mix of football and rhythm-based gameplay.

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Louisiana Had to Sweeten Pot to Win EA Facility

August 22, 2008 -

Earlier this week GamePolitics reported on Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's announcement that EA Sports would establish a game testing center on the LSU campus.

Today's edition of The Advocate reports that state officials had to sweeten EA's deal to the tune of $750,000 due to last minute competition from another (unnamed) state:

Of the EA deal, Stephen Moret (left), secretary of Louisiana's Department of Economic Development, said:

This is really, really big. This company, without question, is at the very top of the list. EA’s decision to come here would be comparable in the film industry to Pixar or The Walt Disney Company coming to build a studio in Louisiana.

GP: We wonder if the competing state may have been Texas. As GamePolitics previously reported, Texas. Gov. Rick Perry met with EA at E3 in Los Angeles.

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TV News Covers EA's New Deal with Louisiana Guv

August 21, 2008 -

Louisiana's WBRZ-2 has a video report on yesterday's news that EA Sports is partnering with Louisiana's government to bring a state-of-the-art QA (quality assurance) facility to Baton Rouge.

Tax breaks played a big part in the deal. Also noteworthy, Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was at one point mentioned as a possible VP choice for Republican John McCain, says he is a gamer.

EA exec Sharon Knight said that the QA facility with begin testing NCAA Football, Madden and Tiger Woods Golf on the PC, PS2 and PSP platforms/

No stream for this one, unfortunately, but click here for the video.

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EA, Louisiana Partner on New QA Facility at LSU

August 20, 2008 -

As recently as 2006, Louisiana's state government embarrassed itself by hopping into bed with Jack Thompson for an unconstitutional piece of video game legislation that quickly crashed and burned in federal court.

But the worm has seemingly turned with today's announcement that Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal (left) and Electronic Arts have partnered to create a new global quality assurance (QA) center in Baton Rouge. EA will work with Louisiana State University and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to bring the project to fruition.

Along with Gov. Jindal and other Louisiana officials, EA exec Sharon Knight was on hand for the announcement. Said the Guv:

EA putting the first-of-its-kind video game testing center in the U.S. right here in Baton Rouge is a terrific win for the city and the future of our state. We know our economic development initiatives have to be aggressive, but they must also be innovative, and EA has both of these important attributes.

 

This testing center will create 20 full time jobs, and more than 200 part-time jobs for LSU students who will get paid to play video games. I know this will be a dream job for some kids, but it is also a key part of strengthening our state's economic development so we become the best place in the world to do business and all of our children can stay right here at home to pursue their dreams. This job win is a critical step in creating a digital media economy that will generate even more high-paying high tech jobs and help us compete for even more jobs within EA in the future.

A Lousiana media rep points out that the state's financial incentives for digital media helped seal the deal. EA will be eligible for a tax credit of up to 20%

 
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Zenemulator...it's not just a slap job that makes "some" work..they do it for each which is why they work so well. I would rather have the quality over just a slap job.07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
ZenMatthew there is a difference between "worked" and "accurate". You play the Nintendo VC titles they play as damn close to the original as possible. The PSP would just run them as best they could, issues and all. And Masked...EACH VC title has their own07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOnce again, the 3DS already HAS a GBA emulator, it just can't run at the same time as the 3DS OS.07/30/2014 - 4:54pm
Matthew Wilsonyou cant street pass in ds mode ether, and if moders can make a gba emulator that runs very well on the psp as I understand it. you are telling me that Nintendo devs are not as good as moders?07/30/2014 - 4:49pm
Zenperformance. Halo 1 and 2 worked great because they actually did custom work on each of them...just like Nintendo does now lol07/30/2014 - 4:08pm
Zenexisting hardware while the GBA has to be emulated completely. Same reason the 360 couldn't run most Original Xbox games correctly, or had issues because they just did "blanket approach" for their emulation which led to game killing bugs or horrible07/30/2014 - 4:07pm
ZenSora/Matthew: It's not just Miiverse, but the whole idea of streetpass and things like that would be affected if the OS is not running. And just because a 3DS game can be downloaded and run does not mean that GBA can as easily. Those 3DS games use the07/30/2014 - 4:06pm
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, How is that different from every other credit card company targeting high school and college students?07/30/2014 - 1:40pm
Sleaker@EZK - I think some people are concerned beacuse it's a predatory technique targetted toward younger people that don't understand on top of offering the worst interest rates of any retailer around.07/30/2014 - 11:33am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/30/europe-gets-long-detained-shin-megami-tensei-4-at-cut-price/ "Sorry you had to wait a year for SMT4, would a price cut make it sting less?"07/30/2014 - 10:29am
NeenekoI would hope not. Though it is not unheard of for store specific cards to be pretty good.07/30/2014 - 8:17am
E. Zachary KnightDoes anyone, or at least any intelligent person, expect a retail branded credit card to be anything close to resembling a "good deal" on interest rates?07/30/2014 - 7:13am
SleakerGamestop articles popping up everywhere about their ludicrous new Credit card offerings at a whopping pre-approval for 26.9% APR07/29/2014 - 10:19pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/07/podcasting-patent-troll-we-tried-to-drop-lawsuit-against-adam-carolla/ the podcasting patent troll scum is trying to turn tail and run.07/29/2014 - 9:50pm
MaskedPixelanteOf course it's improved. At launch, Origin was scanning your entire hard drive, but now it's just scanning your browsing history. If that's not an improvement, I dunno what is!07/29/2014 - 8:59pm
Papa Midnighthttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/experienced-points/12029-Has-EAs-Origin-Service-Improved-Any-Over-the-Last-Two-Years07/29/2014 - 8:25pm
Sora-ChanSo it's just a matter of having better emulation software. If it can be done with a 3DS game, with all the memory and what not it takes up, it can be done with a GBA title through emulation.07/29/2014 - 7:30pm
Sora-ChanOther VC titles for the NES and Gameboy had the same setup where you couldn't access the homescreen without quitting out of the game til a later update when those games were released for the public outside of the founder program.07/29/2014 - 7:28pm
Sora-Chanthe 3DS can, and does, run GBA games, as seen by the founder gifts, which included a number of GBA titles. As for running GBA games and still having access to the home screen, I beleive it's more of the game emulation software needs to be updated.07/29/2014 - 7:27pm
Matthew Wilsonthe 3ds already swaps os's with the original ds. plus I dont think people expect miverse interaction when playing a gba game.07/29/2014 - 6:06pm
 

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