Screen Australia has announced a $3 million investment in the development of 21 games through its Games: Expansion Pack and First Nations Games Studio funds. The games span a variety of genres and platforms, and are being developed by teams throughout the country.
The Games: Expansion Pack fund was first launched in March 2022, and is targeted at small-to-medium independent game studios throughout the country working on games with budgets below $500,000. Since its inception, the fund has distributed more than $8 million towards the development of 62 games, for an average of $129,000. Games funding rounds will reopen on October 2.
The First Nations Games Studio fund, meanwhile, was launched in May 2023, is aimed at game studios led by First Nations developers. $600,000 of the distributed $3 million total was invested in two studios, GUCK and Awesome Black, which each received $300,000. GUCK’s title, Future Folklore, is a futuristic farming game inspired by the Australian bush and being developed for mobile devices. The company will be unveiling more details on the title over the next twelve months.
Investing in the future
More and more governments and media groups are investing in digital entertainment in recent years, while more and more consumers are being onboarded into gaming. With mobile being the most accessible and profitable of all platforms, as well as enjoying a cheaper development cost and quicker turnover time on average than console or PC games, this has seen mobile studios worldwide benefit from direct investment and tax incentives. Alongside direct investment in Australian games studios, the Federal Government of Australia recently announced the Digital Games Tax Offset, offering a 30% tax incentive to gaming projects with budgets of over $500,000, highlighting the country’s commitment to growing its gaming presence on the world stage.
“It’s fantastic that Screen Australia now has the funding it needs for video games,” said Australian minister for the arts Tony Burke. “That’s why we set up these dedicated funds for this growing and important industry – supporting local games developers.”
“It was amazing to see the high volume of incredibly strong applications for this latest round of Games: Expansion Pack and also for the inaugural First Nations Games Studio fund,” said Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason. “These projects and these studios represent a fantastic mix of exciting games from talented creators around the country and it is great to be able to support them to accelerate their skills and talent, and to bring their creative visions to life. We are so proud of the level of talent in the games industry in Australia, and feel the best is yet to come for our games developers both locally and on the international stage.”
Despite the investment from government entities, Australia continues to be somewhat of an underdog to venture capitals, who invested just $7 million into the country’s gaming industry in Q2.