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Empire State Development Announces New York State Opens Its First-Ever Statewide Pavilion at the Game Developers Conference in California

New York is First State to lead a Statewide Pavilion at the 2023 Game Developers Conference

State's Presence Will Help to Attract the Growing Digital Game Development Industry to New York

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that New York State has opened its first-ever pavilion at the Game Developers Conference, happening March 20-24 in San Francisco, California. The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the preeminent conference for video game developers in the United States. New York is the first state in the nation to lead a statewide pavilion at the Game Developers Conference, which will include organizations representing government, higher education, and the gaming industry.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “ESD is proud to lead the New York State pavilion at the Game Developers Conference as we work towards growing the video game industry in the Empire State.  With the new Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program currently underway and accepting applications, we encourage developers and this booming industry to discover what many industries already know – New York State not only open for business, it’s the best place to do business.”

New York State is home to nearly 100 digital game development studios, supporting more than 11,000 jobs. As the world's largest game industry showcase, the Game Developers Conference offers the state and its partners an opportunity to meet and engage with industry stakeholders, introduce new audiences to the state's gaming assets, and encourage new gaming growth and connections.

This event follows on the heels of the recently-launched the $25 million New York State Digital Game Development Tax Credit Program – one of the only dedicated digital game tax credit programs in the United States. The program is intended to attract and grow the digital game development industry and is designed to accelerate and attract economic development by offsetting some production costs associated with producing digital games in New York.

Approved applicants receive tax credits of up to 25% of qualified production costs in New York City and 35% outside of the New York City metropolitan commuter transportation district. A minimum of 75% of the total production costs must be incurred and paid by the Applicant for work performed and/or services rendered in New York State.

New York State Pavilion partners include:

  1. 1st Playable
  2. Geopipe
  3. NYC EDC
  4. New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment
  5. New York University
  6. Polyhedron Productions
  7. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  8. Rochester Institute of Technology
  9. Rushdown Studios
  10. SUNY Polytechnic
  11. Velan Studios
  12. Wolfjaw

Mayor Adams’s administration is committed to growing NYC’s burgeoning Digital Games Industry. Under his leadership, the City has invested $2 million in The City University of New York (CUNY) to create the first-ever Bachelor's Degree program in Digital Game Design at City College of New York, which aims to drive inclusive growth by providing college students a public and affordable option for careers in the rapidly growing digital games industry and related fields. In addition, he created the first-ever Game Development Industry Council to advise the City's policies and programs in the digital games sector, and launched the NYC Minecraft Education Battle of the Boroughs for K-12 students, which will culminate in a Mayor's Cup tournament this summer.

"We are thrilled to join NYS Empire State Development for a first in the nation, statewide-coordinated presence at this year’s Game Developers Conference to showcase all that New York has to offer to the digital games industry," said the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner, Anne del Castillo. "As we work to transform New York into a global hub for digital games, we look forward to making our inaugural presence at the NYS Pavilion with our colleagues at NYC Economic Development Corporation to introduce new incentives, connect with innovative leaders in the industry, and spotlight the city's diverse indie game community through our 'Made in NY' arcade."

“We are proud to support and participate in the first-of-its-kind New York State Pavilion at the 2023 Game Developers Conference. New York City is the epicenter of innovation, and now is the time to take the necessary steps to become a leader in the digital gaming space,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “We believe our physical assets, deep bench of creative talent, business attraction services, and policy offerings are unmatched for the gaming industry. We look forward to sparking new economic opportunities in this rapidly growing sector.”

Chief of Staff and Director of Games Industry Relations at Rochester Institute of Technology MAGIC Center/MAGIC Spell Studios, Jenn Hinton said, “We are so excited to be back at GDC! The opportunity to participate in the NYS Pavilion is something that we have been looking forward to since before the pandemic. RIT is proud to be a founding partner of the NYS Pavilion and we are eager to demonstrate, along with our university and industry partners why now is the right time and why New York is the right place to be making games.”

Administrative Coordinator of the Center of Excellence in Digital Game Development at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Darian Shump said,  "RPI is extremely privileged to support the inaugural year of the NYS Pavilion at GDC. The Pavilion's been a long time in the making and its launch this year provides our students, the next generation of game development professionals in the State, with the opportunity to showcase their games on the (inter)national stage. For most of them, it'll be their first time attending -- and were it not for the support of ESD, as well as our fellow founding partners at NYU and RIT, none of it would've been possible."

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh said, "It is welcome news that Empire State Development is opening its first-ever pavilion at the Game Developers Conference, building on the work that New York State has done to be a leader in the digital gaming industry. The New York State Pavilion partners include our local Capital Region gaming industry leaders who will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this event."

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York's chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State's iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.


Kristin Devoe | 518-414-1087 | [email protected]

ESD Press Office | 800-260-7313 | [email protected]