North Carolina joined the ranks of regions like Canada today when its governor signed into law a games-industry-friendly bill that would offer a tax credit to all companies involved in the production of “digital media.”

In the midst of the worldwide economic downturn, taxes are a big deal – particularly in our industry, and there especially in the light of the Canada vs. UK kerfuffle. Today brings good news to game developers in North Carolina, however, as Governor Beverly Perdue signed a bill into law that would provide economic incentives for all companies in the state involved in “interactive digital media productions.”

When the bill goes into effect on January 1, 2011, NC-based companies “will receive a 15 percent tax credit on compensation and wages for employees” who are involved with making interactive digital media (read: videogames) or the engines and platforms that run such digital media (read: game engines). Governor Perdue signed House Bill 1973 into law today at the Cary, NC headquarters of Epic Games, creators of Gears of War and the popular Unreal middleware engine – a developer that fits both criteria.

Epic isn’t the only developer in or around North Carolina’s Research Triangle, either. The Triangle is home to companies like Tom Clancy developers Red Storm, a branch of Ratchet & Clank creator Insomniac, Matt Hazard makers Vicious Cycle and Atomic Games, the developers of the ill-fated Six Days in Fallujah and the anticipated downloadable title Breach. It’s also the home base of The Escapist, so represent, guys. Represent.

“The passage of this legislation marks a significant investment in the future of North Carolina’s interactive digital media industry,” said Alexander Macris, president of the non-profit industry organization Triangle Game Initiative and publisher of The Escapist. “Our state is home to one of the largest concentrations of game development companies in the United States. These incentives will not only help keep North Carolina competitive on the national stage, it will produce compelling [Returns on Investment] for the state’s graduates, skilled work force and research and development infrastructure.”

Thanks to the presence of a number of highly-regarded universities like UNC and Duke – renowned for their academics as well as their basketball prowess – the Research Triangle is a prominent hub for tech corporations on the East Coast of the United States.

“Adding to the quality of life, creative class and top-notch technology community North Carolina currently boasts,” said Wayne Watkins of Wake County Economic Development, “[We] now have targeted economic development tools that can help both existing companies as well as companies looking to relocate operations.”

Congratulations, everybody.

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