We need more Government involvement?

Ok I'm going to ramble for a bit, hopefully someone will shed some light on this.

The game industry in Australia is growing, but it seems that only the Victorian and Queensland governments are smart enough to see that this is a BOOMING industry. In places like China, India and Korea, game development studios are popping up everywhere trying to provide enough content for online, wireless and console markets.

We have some very good companies here in Australia, and they need to be supported as well by assisting them score more high profile contracts.

The US film industry now recognizes NZ and Australia as a high quality low cost production base which probably is a lot due to the Government promoting it, but they just don't seem to see Gaming in the same callibur.

I have a friend in NZ who managed to get sponsorship from the NZ government (who JUMPED at the chance) to travel to GDC last year to try to get more business into NZ, I tried approaching the NSW government and their answer was "we don't do that sort of thing" ... they are concentrating more on film. I mean, if I said, sponsor me to close the deal for a new multi million dollar high profile film, I'm sure they'd jump at the chance. Games right now is baby steps and this is where it counts. Help a growing industry at the beginning and the results would be exponential right?

Anyone got ideas, or am I totally wrong?

MoonUnit's picture

im afraid i cant pass the magic potion that will woo the government to your gaming will but i do agree with you. Its funny how games potential are only just being realised but rest assured those baby steps are being taken more as great baby strides. For example games have just recently been seen as a advertising material in the same sence movies are. Product placement is ofcourse all over movies and buddy cops ride around in the latest showroom car etc, recently red bull has appeared in two games (as a product placement, not just some developer who tipped his hat to the drink that kept him through the late nights making the game :P ), judge dread and worms 3D (so im told, ive only actually seen the dread one).

More and more the world realises who games mirror movies (they share some similarities from this point of perspective, im not trying to start a "do i enjoy movies or games more" debate) and thus mirror the potential, so id say your government interest isnt too far off.

souri's picture

Does anyone know *any* initiatives that other states (NSW,SA,WA,TAS) offer for commercial and indie game developers? Governments should look into the awards that the local industry has been receiving, beating other media companies in their category for the number of exports/dollars they're bringing into the economy..
The Digital Media Fund which is offering help to independant game developers on funding/helping out with contracts (keeping IP) etc is a great start, but it's only available for Victorian developers.
There are some countries that have really embraced the game industry. I think I read a while ago about the French government pumping in the sum of about $30 million worth of support into their local game industry (that includes support for independant game developers as well).

bullet21's picture

All i have to say is god bless steve Bracks.

groovyone's picture

I've not heard of any from other states, perhaps they're oblivious to the lucrativity of the game industry (or at least haven't shown anyone in the public that they are). The only one I know of was at AGDC, I talked to someone from NSW gov't who was "investigating". Though in all honesty, I think they are too wrapped with the film industry to bother with gaming just yet (please prove me wrong).

So I salute the QL and Victorian gov'ts for showing initiative and support for the gaming industry, and the others should pull their heads out of the sand and take a look at what's happening.

With the event of consoles like PSP coming, there's a LOT of opportunity for Australian game development to shine. Our Tantalus's, Torus's, Kromes ..etc are doing a good a fantastic job *Big Up!!*. But the point is that without government support some possibilities of other talents, with less funding, may not get the chance to help. Specifically DevKits and secondly, assistance with flights, acommodation, and conference tickets.

urgrund's picture

so what exactly does (..or can) the QLD government do for indi game developers?
or where can I research into this more?

Shplorb's picture

Yeah, the government owes us all a living. My rant is that no industry should be getting hand outs.

Blitz's picture

They're not handouts. It's in the governments interest to support companies/startups with good prospects, because when they start making a lot of money, the goverment reaps the benefits with taxes. So, grants etc. aren't handouts, they're an investment with a huge return possibility :)
CYer, Blitz

groovyone's picture

As blitz says, they're not quite hand outs, they're long term investments. Helping build and attract game development to Australia, and providing local exports of high quality content to the rest of the world.

spageto's picture

No industry should get handouts? Well, depends what you mean by handouts. Because if health and education didn't get "handouts" the average person wouldn't be able to go to school or get medical treatment... and I'd be wondering exactly where my tax dollars are going... But if you're talking about "picking winners" i.e. choosing and assisting certain industries (and not others) through grants and tax subsidies, then... well, it's a complex issue. Singapore and Ireland (IT sector) are just two countries I can think of off the top of my head where government assistance has had a huge positive effect on the economy.

I reckon small businesses in general need more help (a lower company tax rate for one thing). And both the government and the community benefits from a strong business sector - jobs for one thing, taxes for another. As for helping the game industry in particular, Blitz is spot on. The government have decided to help games developers because the sector shows a lot of potential growth and promises to create more jobs, bring in export income, generate tax revenue for the government, etc.

So I'm interested [:)] - where can we find out more about the grants on offer?

rezn0r's picture

DaMunkee's picture

Wow, what QLD and Vic do for game developers is AWESOME!!!! You won't find that over here in the states unless some government official is getting a hefty kickback. Now only if WA would do something like that :) (Only 3 more months until I'm there!!!!)

spageto's picture

And here is what the Victorian Government is doing: http://www.mmv.vic.gov.au/gameplan

souri's picture

Yeh, I think the term 'hand out' is kinda misleading. Those kits and schemes aren't simply given to anyone that comes and asks for one.
For the Playstation 2 development kit, you have to prove that you are capable of development (detailing on your background, experience etc), and then you're given milestones to complete your objective. Each milestone is checked with someone relegated to you from the industry/on the scheme, so if you're expecting to get a free $20,000 kit without doing any work, I'm sure you'll be found out and those kits taken away, pronto. I think that's a pretty good idea to encourage development happening and not simply offer 'handouts'. I'm sure any other schemes and assistance will be just as stringent.

groovyone's picture

Does Anyone have any sort of contact for the NSW gov't to speak with about this sort of stuff?

souri's picture

The State Government's Department of State and Regional Development assisted with Perception's relocation to a larger studio at Waterloo, so it might be worth contacting them to see how they can help.

groovyone's picture

Souri, Yah could you. I've got some questions to ask.

nexus6's picture

Hello everyone, great topic

I've been working in London for the past (almost) 3 years. I came over here after finishing cert IV at the AIE because there wasn't any work where I wanted it, and there was a complete lack of good titles.

The Australian Games industry I think has fallen into that trap of movie/TV licences and sports games. Sure they pay the bills but they don't do anything to promote the industry and they lack the originallity to build a company name.

The industry as I see it needs all the help it can get but it's certainly not doing itself any favours. It's hard though, to develope something trully original that would 'push the limits' so to speak, like Halflife 2, would need enourmous venture capital and quite a bit of development time. VC companies in Australia tend to look down on games and see them as high risk/minimal return kind of thing.

On the positive side, I've talked to alot of people in this industry, and it has to be pointed out that government support is very rare indeed, course, everywhere the money is they don't need government help.

souri's picture

I've emailed them for some more information a few days ago. If they don't reply soon, I'll just forward you their email and you can contact them yourself, Grooveyone.