It's time government recognised the value of the Australian video games industry and gave it the same level of support as other creative industries enjoy, Australian Greens Communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said today when launching the Australian Greens' videogames initiative.
"The Australian videogames industry is a perfect example of the sort of innovative 21st century industry that the current Prime Minister gushes about. We'd prefer that enthusiasm translated into real action, so that's why we're announcing this $158 million package to assist the industry," said Senator Ludlam.
"The consensus report from our senate inquiry into the future of the industry made it clear that government can galvanise the local industry, in the form of grants, low-interest loans and tax offsets to foster growth, and to ensure that Australian talent stays in Australia.
"The Abbott-Turnbull government did a huge disservice to the industry when it axed the Australian Interactive Games Fund. That initiative was a great success, helping a number of popular games get off the ground and several developers establish robust businesses, but it was cut before half of the funds were even disbursed. We'd like to see that fund reinstated and developed into a stable revolving fund.
"Some of the supports available to the film and TV industry, such as the Producer Tax Offset, should be extended to include videogame production. We have the absurd situation now where an international studio working on a huge franchise receives massive backing from the government for the film, yet local developers working on the game tie-in do not.
"Co-working spaces such as the Arcade in Melbourne foster creativity and innovation. That model should be expanded into other cities. Government can set standards for these funding programs to encourage diversity, which the industry in turn will benefit greatly from, and audiences will too," Senator Ludlam said.
"It genuinely is an exciting time in videogame development. The massive success of mobile gaming, and the emerging technology of VR, are rich opportunities for the industry. With just a few key measures, we can switch videogame development difficulty in Australia from 'Veteran' to 'Regular'.