State approves up to $600,000 for video game developer moving to downtown Las Vegas

It has been almost a year and a half since Gov. Brian Sandoval signed legislation that authorized a $10 million catalyst fund to be used to attract new companies to Nevada or help existing businesses expand.

Today, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development unanimously approved its first catalyst fund request to earmark up to $600,000 for a video game developer that’s planning to relocate from Northridge, Calif., to downtown Las Vegas.

Take-Two Interactive Software, which produced the Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K and Max Payne game franchises, plans to relocate downtown 150 quality assurance testing jobs, with an average wage of $18 an hour, within a year of moving operations to Nevada.

The company broke down the mix of employees to eight management positions, four office and administrative positions, four human resources and training jobs, four information technology jobs, 12 to 15 lead testers and the rest, testers and senior testers.

The deal is performance based, and money would be paid over five years with a maximum $120,000 per year to offset the expense of the company’s move, equipment costs and working capital needs.

The incentive is designed to expand Southern Nevada’s growing $60 billion video game publishing industry.

Seth Krauss, executive vice president and general counsel of Take-Two, said companies like slot-machine manufacturers International Game Technology and Bally Technologies helped grow Las Vegas’ talent pool for writing game software and now several companies have located in Southern Nevada.

The company applied for and received a $600,000 incentive package from the City of Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency and has committed to a seven-year lease to occupy two floors at 302 Carson Ave.

Krauss said that while most people believe video games to be the domain of young adults, he said the average age of game players is between 27 and 30.

“This is exactly the type of company Nevada should attract,” said Economic Development Director Steve Hill, adding that the approval is another step toward the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas.

Take-Two’s benefits package includes health, dental and vision care for employees and dependents, 15 days of paid personal time off a year, paid holidays, participation in the company’s 401(k) retirement program and reimbursement for a gym membership.

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