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Australia announces three new government programmes to support local devs

Risk-takers are encouraged to apply, as are mid-career Australian devs looking for a ticket to GDC
Australia announces three new government programmes to support local devs

At Melbourne International Games Week it has been announced that the Australian government is introducing new funds for game developers in the country, partnering with the federal government’s key funding body Screen Australia to achieve this.

Overall, the funding programmes will commit AU$12 million over the next four years to companies in the Australian games industry space.

As reported by Gamesindustry.biz, Screen Australia’s new Games Production Fund is replacing 2022’s Games: Expansion Pack and is now the flagship fund. Applications for funding up to AU$100,000 are open now for studios with a budget of up to AU$500,000 themselves, with this first round open until November 30.

The key difference with the newest iteration of the fund is that it will give out funding on a milestone basis rather than necessarily supporting release. Of course, a game’s release is still classed as a milestone in itself, but funding will also go towards finishing prototypes, the launch of games in early access and more. Ultimately, the goal is for the new fund to span the breadth of the development process and provide support at varied, integral points based on company needs.

Even more support

There have in fact been two other key markers of support for game devs at Melbourne International Games Week, the first being the announcement of an Emerging Gamemakers Fund focusing on the earlier parts of game development like prototyping.

Weird, risk-taking games with a level of artistic experimentation are encouraged to apply for the programme, which will award up to AU$30,000 to companies that meet the fund’s criteria. Like the Games Production Fund, the Emerging Gamemakers Fund’s first round is open until November 30.

The other form of developer support is coming not in direct financial support but rather takes more of a networking approach. Screen Australia revealed that the Future Leaders Delegation will be a new programme seeking to send developers to GDC - usually a costly trip for Australians. In particular mid-career developers who have not been to GDC previously are set to benefit from this support, but applications are closing sooner than the others - ending on November 9.

"Over the past few years, we've witnessed remarkable transformation and growth in the Australian digital games industry, and it has been inspiring to support a diverse range of practitioners and projects from emerging talents to experts in the field," said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason.

"Today’s announcement represents an evolution of our games funding and will serve our independent game makers into the future — and is testament to our commitment to supporting Australia’s growing games industry. To all the independent game makers out there, I encourage you to share your unique visions and projects with us and seize this opportunity."

Australian mobile games outfit iCandy has made some investments of its own in recent years, acquiring a 51% stake in Storms and fully acquiring Malaysia-based studio Lemon Sky.