Australia always supports local video game developers. Image: Shutterstock
Screen Australia has funded 31 new Australian-made video games with its latest round of grants as the government prepares a major tax offset for game developers.
Since its announcement in March, Screen Australia’s funding round has received a boost, growing from $3 million to over $4 million.
Original games with budgets under $500,000 were eligible to receive the funding.
Lee Naimo, Screen Australia’s online manager, said the agency was impressed with the high quality of locally produced work.
“We were blown away by the number of outstanding apps that demonstrated the wealth of talented creatives and original ideas coming out of the Australian games industry,” he said.
“We’re thrilled to be back in this space and supporting Australian developers to continue to create distinctive games that find traction here and around the world, and help build the local workforce.”
Arts Minister Tony Burke said the government was “committed to supporting Australia’s digital games industry to create, innovate and thrive and realize its full potential”.
A diverse list of games will be funded by Screen Australia, including visual novels, word games, rhythm games, deck builders and puzzle games.
The games are in various stages of development and are usually built by small teams or solo developers such as Violet LeBeaux whose casual life simulator about moving to a big city, Garland moonlightwas also supported by the Victorian government’s screen development agency, VicScreen.
There are also first-person multiplayer games like those from 2Bit Studios. planetization, a farming and crafting game set in an alien world that will soon be available for beta testing.
More experimental games like Totem Tellera game its developers describe as “thoughtful and deeply philosophical” has been hand-picked by Screen Australia to receive funding.
Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), said the extra funds allocated to these smaller projects were much needed in a local industry that continues to grow its talent pool.
“This will result in job growth, fostering digital and on-screen skills development, and increased revenue for Australia’s highly talented and acclaimed games development industry.”
Australian video game developers will soon benefit from the previous government’s digital game tax offset, which is expected to be legislated this year.
It will provide positive reinforcement to major Australian-based studios by giving 30% refundable tax compensation to companies that spend at least $500,000 on game development and will even count spending made after a game is released.
Tax compensation and increased support for Australian video game creators has the New Zealand government on its back as it remains”concerned about Australian competition” and thinks about how to keep the developers on his side of the divide.