Welcoming the giant E3 video game conference back to Los Angeles today, Mayor Eric Garcetti said it may make sense to include the booming game industry in production incentives designed to get and keep film and television production in the state. “There’s a collision of content in Los Angeles,” said Garcetti, who has been heavily involved trying to persuade state officials to enhance the California incentive program to keep more entertainment production. “The line between video games software and film/TV is blurring. They all have stories, they all use (similar production tools and processes) in the same way. L.A. is poised to take off. But it’s why we need those tax incentives in place.” Gov. Jerry Brown has stayed mum on a proposed expansion of the current $100 million California system, despite aggressive efforts by some other states and countries to lure away film and TV work with substantial tax breaks.
Garcetti used a ribbon-cutting ceremony to tout the budding economic recovery in Los Angeles in the year he’s been in office, particularly for creative industries. “This is the most creative spot in the world,” he said. “E3 has long been at that intersection of the creative world. In L.A., a new tech company starts every 40 hours. But long before this new boom, E3 understood. We are on fire and E3 is part of that momentum.” The conference officially opened at noon today and runs through Thursday evening. Already, several of the big game-related companies have held their big pre-show media briefings.
California, and Los Angeles, are already big hubs for video game work, every bit as much as they are for film and TV, said Mike Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, the game trade group that puts on E3 every year. The conference itself brings 50,000 industry, media and analyst visitors to Los Angeles each year, who Gallagher said spend a collective $40 million in the local economy. More generally, 270 videogame companies are located in the state, with 60,000 employees, generating about $2 billion in economic activity, he said. But the industry is a global one, as evidenced by the polyglot crowd stuffed into the Los Angeles Convention Center today from all over Asia, Europe and beyond.