Wisconsin: Cheese, beer, and… videogames?

When you think of the state of Wisconsin there are some things that come to mind, such as the items listed above… also, Tommy Bartlett.  However, there are some things that you definitely don’t directly link to the Dairy State, one of those things is the videogame industry.

You may ask how I know this, and I’ll tell you.  I live there (here?).  Yeah, that’s right, I’m a Wisconsinite, born and raised, and in my quest to suckle onto the teet (cow humor) of the industry I have come to the conclusion that the opportunities within the state are slim.  That’s not to say they don’t exist, as developers such as Raven Software and Human Head are cheeseheads themselves, but let’s just say those are the exceptions to the rule.

Things may be changing for the better, though, as my home state has just announced a new 25% tax rebate on several entertainment industries, including the videogame sector.  That’s a full 1/4 of a companies qualifying taxes completely refunded just for calling Wisconsin home.  That’s a pretty solid deal if you ask me.  There are other incentives for companies to do business from WI that might not immediately come to mind, one of those being the cost of living.  Everything from housing to vegetables is extremely affordable here, which is a big plus.  In addition to that, if you stay away from the Milwaukee area, the crime rate is lower than the vast majority of other states.  In fact, my hometown of Fond Du Lac was recently named the safest metropolitan area in the entire country.  How’s that for a solid recommendation?

The dirty details of the program can be found at gamesindustry.biz, but you won’t find much fine print, and it all seems to be on the up and up from this cheesehead’s point of view.