Gameloft, one of the world’s leading publishers of mobile video games, began planning a new U.S. site in 2010. The Paris-based company visited several major cities as part of the site selection for a game development studio, and the final stop led to New Orleans.
David Hague, studio manager for Gameloft New Orleans, said the company quickly saw the benefits of moving to the Crescent City because of existing tax credits. Louisiana’s digital media incentives, which provide tax credits of up to 35 percent on Louisiana-based payroll, would go a long way toward giving Gameloft a financial edge in the highly competitive video game market. But there was more than money to consider.
“Cost is one thing, but the really important thing behind setting up a new creative studio is making sure that we have the talent,” Hague said. Gameloft needed to know New Orleans could attract top-notch lead programmers and animators over the next decade.
In business since 2000, Gameloft creates interactive entertainment, such as Splinter Cell and Modern Combat, along with titles based on blockbuster movies, such as Avatar and Spider-Man. The company has sold more than 200 million games, at a pace Hague calculates to be three titles per second. And as mobile devices become more prevalent and powerful, Gameloft anticipates business will continue to grow. The company will hire nearly 150 people for the New Orleans studio to help meet the demand.
That’s why LED FastStart® got involved. The State of Louisiana provider, which helps new and expanding companies recruit, train and screen employees, took on those tasks even before Gameloft chose New Orleans. Overnight, LED FastStart launched a custom Gameloft New Orleans website and advertised on social media sites, including Facebook and Web portals frequented by game software professionals. FastStart quickly demonstrated that New Orleans could indeed attract the talent pool Gameloft sought.
“We brainstormed ideas to reach out to targeted job seekers, who had the job descriptions that we were looking for,” said Jeff Lynn, Louisiana Economic Development’s executive director of workforce development programs. “We worked behind the scenes to find out where on social media people who have the behaviors and competencies we wanted, hang out.”
The recruitment process included placing banner ads on sites to target people who would be a good match for Gameloft. If you had a background in video game programming, a banner ad promoting New Orleans as a fun place to work and live would pop up on your Facebook home page.
“In the first seven weeks, we got 1,350 résumés, which we gave to the Gameloft human resources team to vet,” Lynn said. “Once the Gameloft people went through them, they found that 700 were qualified for jobs.” Lynn said those numbers “blew away” officials with the video game company, who were hoping to get 15 people with the skills they sought.