State: Video game venture means 75 new New Orleans-area jobs
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A new video game development project based in New Orleans will create 75 new jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000, state officials said Wednesday.
Possibility Space is a project of entrepreneur Jeff Strain, who is known for creating Seattle-based ArenaNet, which was acquired by NCsoft, and Undead Labs, which was acquired by Microsoft.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said in Wednesday’s announcement that the new studio “could be a game-changer” for an already established video game development industry in Louisiana that includes several operations in New Orleans and one in Baton Rouge.
Strain emphasized in public statements and an interview that Possibility Space is focused on developing a new and uplifting experience that will bring video gamers together. Without giving specific details of Possibility Space’s plans, he cited as a “very small example” an Xbox game, Sea of Thieves, in which gamers playing interactively have responsibilities on a ship “and you go exploring the high seas together — a much more profound reason for being interactive with other people online.”
Possibility Space will also be a “physically distributed studio” with some of the industry’s top talent working remotely from a variety of locations. However, Strain and state officials also stressed that Possibility Space is hiring locally.
The business is expected to take advantage of state incentives, including tax credit programs that require that work be physically done in Louisiana.
“Our intention is to really start reaching out both in the city of New Orleans but also across the state of Louisiana and, frankly, the entire South, and start building onramps for people into this industry. That’s why we’re here,” Strain said. “We are really focusing on mentorship and training and making opportunities for people to come into the industry here.”