Playing the Long Game


Occasionally, the phone will ring, and a consultant will announce that they have a business that intends to expand to Greater New Orleans, and two weeks later we are holding a press conference with our partners to celebrate the win.

But far more often, we have to play the long game. A great example of what it takes – and why it is worth it – is today’s announcement that High Voltage Software, one of the leading independent game studios in America, will be expanding to New Orleans with an 80-person development office.

This win actually started with a loss. Nearly four years ago, GNO, Inc. and LED traveled to Atlanta to try to convince an international game studio to move its North America headquarters to Greater New Orleans. While we narrowly missed on this attempt, the CEO was so impressed with Louisiana and New Orleans that he told his friend, the founder of High Voltage Software, about the opportunity for digital companies here.

What followed was a nearly 18-month process wherein High Voltage evaluated every aspect of operating in New Orleans: business costs; incentive eligibility; real estate options; workforce availability and training; and a broad range of quality of life issues, from neighborhoods to schools.

During this time we made numerous trips back and forth between New Orleans and their headquarters in Chicago. We broke bread together in restaurants and even in our homes. And the local business and higher educational community went the extra mile, literally placing High Voltage at center court and in key meetings with educational leaders.

I don’t want to speak for High Voltage, but if you ask them I think they would say what ultimately convinced them to make their expansion to New Orleans was not just our low costs, or our best-in-class incentives, but the people: unmatched the energy, ability and alignment of everyone they met.

So now, nearly four years after it started, this long game comes to a successful conclusion. We welcome High Voltage Software to Louisiana and Greater New Orleans, and look forward to having them on the home team as we enter future competitions.
Michael Hecht
President and CEO
Greater New Orleans, Inc.