Digital gaming boom prompts Gameloft expansion
In 2011, PocketGamer.com ranked Gameloft the No. 1 publisher of mobile games. A leader in the booming digital gaming market, Paris-based Gameloft was poised to capitalize on this growth and evaluated several locations for a new game development studio.
The company evaluated many potential sites, looking for a location with a strong business climate and the support of economic development organizations. Gameloft leadership required the location to possess a pool of young talent and provide an enriching lifestyle for its staff.
When LED officials discovered Gameloft was evaluating new locations for the studio, the economic development staff identified New Orleans as a uniquely positioned destination for software developers. LED contacted Gameloft to outline what Louisiana could provide.
Growing tech market in Louisiana entices Gameloft
New Orleans struck a chord with Gameloft. Beyond the city's reputation as a culinary and entertainment magnet, by 2010 New Orleans had established a noteworthy track record of attracting young professionals in the creative class and providing a high level of entrepreneurial activity.
In Louisiana, tax credits were targeted to filmmakers, and by the end of the 2000s, the incentives helped establish Louisiana as the No. 3 U.S. movie production market. In 2005, Louisiana extended tax credits to video game developers in the state. State leaders recognized that digital entertainment held the potential to create even more permanent jobs than movies, and a 2009 law extended the reach to software development in general, with a 35 percent refundable tax credit in Louisiana-based payroll and a 25 percent refundable tax credit on software product costs.
Such incentives supported a growing digital media industry in Louisiana and encouraged further growth. The promising business climate and support from the state was an enticing proposition for Gameloft representatives who appreciated the vote of confidence Louisiana placed in this booming industry.
The company discovered that game development professionals expressed a great deal of interest in living and working in the city. What Gameloft executives wanted to know next was whether they could find the necessary talent to establish a major studio in New Orleans.
LED FastStart takes applicant recruiting to the next level
The employees that Gameloft wanted to recruit had to possess unique skills and talents in design and software development. Recruiting the right employees, from Louisiana and elsewhere, remained a major concern for the company.
To convince Gameloft representatives that Louisiana was an ideal location for the company's new studio, the state provided Gameloft with the services of LED FastStart® — rated the No. 1 workforce recruitment and training program in the nation for the last four years in a row. For each customer, FastStart devises a multifaceted employee recruitment and screening strategy that identifies and cultivates candidates ideally suited for the client's workplace.
For the needs of Gameloft, FastStart committed to developing a targeted approach to identify and recruit potential talent through the most ideal outlets.
FastStart knew the Gameloft demonstration project needed to deliver qualified candidates quickly. Overnight, FastStart designed a custom website that included an overview video about Gameloft and a quality-of-life video showcasing New Orleans. From there, the FastStart team launched a social media marketing campaign that went viral in a matter of days. FastStart produced targeted Facebook ads and a Twitter campaign with strategic hashtags and links. FastStart staff also produced banner ads that were placed at online portals frequented by game development professionals.
Within two months, the FastStart campaign for Gameloft attracted more than 60,000 page views, two million impressions and 1,700 job applicants.
Most importantly, more than 700 of the job applicants were identified as "highly qualified" and possessed the skills Gameloft needed to establish a game development studio in New Orleans.
"One of the main concerns when we were moving down here was that we weren't going to be able to convince people to move here," said David Hague, Gameloft New Orleans studio manager (2011-2013). "That was obviously not the case as we started recruiting, and we had 1,700 people apply to come down here. Of those people, 700 people were qualified candidates."
Gameloft's New Orleans studio sees success of cosmic proportions applicant recruiting to the next level
With the workforce question answered, Gameloft accepted Louisiana's incentive package. On August 15, 2011, Gameloft announced it would open a game development studio in New Orleans and deliver at least one new game title developed entirely at the studio in its first year. Employment will grow to nearly 150 jobs at the New Orleans studio in the next few years, with pay averaging more than $60,000, plus benefits.
"We really did not have (Louisiana or New Orleans) on the radar to go for," said Samir El Agili, vice president production U.S. and Latin America at Gameloft. "What's interesting and made us very curious about Louisiana is the amazing digital media incentive, which is the best in the country. We were very amazed by what we saw. We were very amazed by the state. Whether it's the incentive or the culture that we found in Louisiana, we felt this could definitely be one of the top cities for us to build a studio."
In August 2012, Gameloft celebrated its one-year anniversary in New Orleans. In the span of a single year, the company hired 32 employees and is on track to fulfill its goal of 100 employees by 2016. At the one-year celebration, Gameloft's officials announced the completion of Cosmic Colony — the first game to be developed at the New Orleans studio.
Since that time, the company has continued to grow at the New Orleans location. Many projects are still in development, but the team experienced great success on other projects. The New Orleans location provided the live services support for Ice Age Village, which launched in 2012 and has remained popular among players ever since – a rarity in the mobile game sector. Additionally, the team provided publishing support for the Cars: Fast as Lightning and Spiderman Unlimited mobile games.