Mass. proving fertile for video game firms

A “BioShock” display greets people at the entrance to the PAX East convention, being held this weekend at the Boston Convention and Expo Center in South Boston.

Last March PAX East — or the Penny Arcade eXpo — could hardly contain 52,000 gamers in its 25,000 square foot exhibit at the Hynes Convention Center. This weekend’s sold out show at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is triple the size, even bigger than PAX’s original Seattle show.  

“When you look at where this industry has come in the last 10 years it seems there is no stopping it,” said state Rep. Vincent Pedone, who proposed tax credits for video game companies. “We are in a new age, a new media, a new gaming world and Massachusetts should be poised to capture that.”

Massachusetts’ universities are home to three of the top video game design programs in the country.

“We need to create a business atmosphere that attracts an industry, not that’s tailor made to specific companies,” Pedone said.

While opponents argue that Massachusetts has lost millions by giving tax breaks to movie makers, Pedone’s bill includes claw backs and videogame employees aren’t temporary like movie workers.  

Greg LoPiccolo of Cambridge-based Harmonix, which created “Rock Band,” said tax credits could make Mass videogame companies more competitive.


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