The state of Texas wants to play games. It’s offering video game companies incentives that match those given to film and television projects, in an initiative designed to keep jobs in Texas and hopefully attract new ones.

Under new rules adopted by the Texas Film Commission, video game companies can apply for grants that will reimburse them up to 15 percent “of eligible in-state spending paid to Texas residents,” up from the previous 5 percent rate, according to the Statesman.

Electronic Arts is already expanding its Texas operations, adding 300 jobs and a division of its EA Sports studio to the company’s Austin facility.

Gov. Rick Perry estimated that 4,000 Texans work in the industry and said he wants his state to be the games industry leader, meaning he’s taking on California for that position.

These are good jobs, too. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average game industry employee in Texas made more than $87,000 in 2009.

The Texas Moving Images Industry Incentive Program began in 2007. Since then, it has been responsible for creating more than 2,400 full-time equivalent gaming jobs, according to an April report from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas’ IC2 Institute. “While making up only 19 percent of the grant receipts, the game industry is responsible for 41 percent of the spending and 45 percent of jobs created,” the report said.

Other states that offer tax incentives to the videogame industry include Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Rhode Island, with credits ranging from 20 percent to 25 percent, according to the UT study.

Related Links:

The Statesman –

Game Politics –

Photo: Paul Reubens in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure