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Screen Australia creates $6m fund for emerging local game developers

Screen Australia has announced it will support Australian game creators by providing direct funding of up to $6 million over the next two years.

The new Games: Expansion Pack fund is aimed at emerging or small to medium independent Australian game developers.

Screen Australia’s $6 million fund will include up to $3 million and will run for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years.

Australian game studios can receive funding for the development of games on any video platform including PC, mobile and console with budgets below $500,000.

Companies developing higher budget games with budgets more than $500,000 will also receive a 30 per cent tax offset from July 1, 2022, as part of the federal government’s digital gains tax offset.

Some of the most popular games of the last few years were created in Australia including Fruit Ninja, Crossy Road, Hollow Knight and Framed.

“The Morrison Government is backing the Australian digital games sector all the way, with our ground-breaking commitment to a 30 per cent tax offset for digital games, which will supercharge investment into digital games in Australia,” says Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.

“While the eligibility condition for the digital tax offset—a minimum of $500,000 spent on qualifying Australian games expenditure from 1 July 2022—means that it is targeted at digital games studios that have reached a certain minimum scale, we also want to encourage smaller games studios to be able to build to reach this scale.

“This initiative by Screen Australia therefore is highly complementary to the Digital Games Tax Offset, and part of our integrated plan to boost the sector and support digital games studios at all stages of their growth.”

Screen Australia CEO Graham Mason says the game sector is a fast-growing space and a vital part of the Australian screen ecosystem.

“Australians working in the games sector are making names for themselves internationally in what is an extremely competitive industry,” he said.

“Screen Australia is delighted to be able to support the sustainability of our local industry.”

“Through the Games: Expansion Pack we aim to enable independent Australian studios to advance the ambition and quality of their digital games, and transition into businesses of scale to better compete in the global market.

“We are pleased to support them to develop original ideas and, together with the Federal Government’s DGTO, help expand on the highly skilled workforce we have in Australia.”

The first round of funding is now open to small and medium independent studios.

screen Australia says this eligibility may be expanded to larger studios in the 2022/23 financial year.

The guidelines and applications can be accessed here.