17 Dec Video game studio adding 80 jobs to CBD

The New Orleans Advocate

High Voltage Software will open a video game development studio in New Orleans next month, a move that will add 80 direct jobs in the city’s Central Business District.

HVS, a major independent video game developer founded in 1993 and based in the Chicago area, has shipped 95 game titles and worked with such well known properties as Star Wars, DC Comics, Lego, Toy Story and Captain America. The company has developed games for a number of platforms, including iPhones, Sony Playstation, Android devices, Xbox and PCs.

The Louisiana economic development department said the 80 jobs at HVS will range in salary from $50,000 to $120,000, plus benefits. Another 116 indirect jobs are expected to be created by the move.

HVS selected Louisiana after an eight-month search. The company considered establishing development studios in Georgia, Florida and Texas.

“We are overjoyed to be a business partner in the city of New Orleans and to be a leader in the growing technology community in Louisiana,” said Kerry Ganofsky, CEO of HVS. “Likewise, we see potential for meaningful and valued long-term relationships with higher education institutions in the state to enhance software engineering programs for students. The opportunities in New Orleans are truly incredible.”

HVS will lease a suite in the Place St. Charles building at 201 St. Charles Ave. and plans to start hiring workers immediately.

“High Voltage is one of the most-respected and enduring development studios in America, and their choice of greater New Orleans for expansion strongly validates the existing tech market here, and will undoubtedly catalyze further growth,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc.

LED began discussing site selection possibilities with HVS in October 2013. To secure the project, the state offered it an incentive package, including a performance-based $150,000 grant to reimburse relocation expenses, along with services from the FastStart workforce development program. HVS is expected to use Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive. The DIMSD incentive provides a 35 percent tax credit on payroll for in-state labor. It also provides a 25 percent tax credit for qualified production expenses in Louisiana.

“High Voltage Software’s investment in New Orleans demonstrates an acceleration of industry confidence in the city’s native creative culture, entrepreneurial ecosystem and affordable business costs,” said New Orleans Business Alliance interim president and CEO Melissa Ehlinger. “These assets, along with the state’s digital media tax credits, continue to attract the attention of the world’s leading game developers.”