A proposed Texas bill banning transgender youth from participating in sports is “bad for business,” Gearbox Entertainment testified yesterday before the Texas Committee on Public Education.Gearbox Director of Institutional Partnerships David Najjab told lawmakers that bills and others like it targeting transgender youth will make “Texas appear unfriendly and unwelcome.” He argued that such bills stand to hurt Gearbox’s efforts to recruit top game development talent to the state.“[Game development] requires an educated workforce of a certain type. It makes us look bad. It sullies us and makes it hard to recruit,” Najjab said. “Our game companies are in competition worldwide. We sell more to Asia than we do in the U.S. We bring a lot of money to Texas. We’re headquartered here. Don’t drive us to where we have to start expanding outside of Texas and outside of the country. We want to keep doing business here.”

Gearbox’s opposition comes amid a recent wave of bills targeting transgender youth in states like Arkansas, Florida, and Texas. Similar bills will also impact healthcare for transgender youth by banning doctors from prescribing blockers that delay the onset of puberty.

Asked for a statement, a Gearbox representative said that Najjab’s testimony “can stand alone.” The studio also highlighted its previous opposition to a proposed bill targeting which bathrooms trans people could use. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford wrote to Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the issue, saying that discriminatory bills would “only increase the challenges that we face in attracting top talent to Texas.”

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“We are in a battle for globally competitive talent, and our ability to successfully recruit and retain our future workforce is critical to our long-term economic prosperity. We already face stiff competition with employers in places such as California. Discriminatory laws will only increase the challenges that we face in attracting top talent to Texas,” Pitchford wrote in the letter to Abbott.

Gearbox has been based in Texas since its inception in 1999, relocating to a new facility in Frisco, Texas in 2014. It most recently published Godfall as a next-gen launch title, with Homeworld 3 set to launch in 2022. A Borderlands movie is also under development.

Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN.



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