Game studios could lead Australia’s creative renaissance post-COVID-19.
A Parliamentary Friends of Video Games group has been backed by both sides of governments in Canberra, to help drive the “economic recovery, creating jobs and opening up a significant export market”.
Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association told 9News.com.au: “It is a $250b industry“.
“It’s bigger than film and music put together yet there’s still not that recognition from the government of the importance of it as an economic driver.”
Hollow Knight, Untitled Goose Game, The Gardens Between and Golf Story are but a handful of Aussie-made games that have won international acclaim, yet the industry is often overlooked for funding.
“What we want is a level playing field,” says Mr Curry.
“What do you give film? What do you give animation? What do you give special effects? It’s those tax offsets that you give to the other creative industries. That’s all Australia’s game development industry is looking for.”
Liberal Senator James McGrath, who launched the group with Labor’s Tim Watts, acknowledged that “this industry represents the fastest-growing media in the world”.
“Australians spent $3.6 billion on video games in 2019, with two-thirds of Australians playing video games.”
In the midst of China’s bullying trade tariffs on Australian beef, barley and wine, Mr Curry pointed to gaming’s international appeal.
“95 per cent of the revenue is export revenue,” Mr Curry said.
“We’re not digging it up. We’re not shipping it. The carbon footprint is quite small. It’s ticking all of the boxes.
“We’re just trying to chip away at that cultural divide that sits between government and the rest of us.”
“Canada, as-far-as value, is 20 times the size of the Australian market and that’s on an adjusted basis for population.”
“They employ 15 times more developers than Australia does. The UK employs 10 times more than Australia does.
“Even New Zealand, and they’re one-fifth our size, has a bigger industry than we do.”
“The common denominator here across a number of countries is the support the government gives through either tax rebates or direct funding.”
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“If we have a good amount of AAA studios, then they become the seeding ground for the next House House (creators of Untitled Goose Game), they become the seeding ground for the next Big Ant.”