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Aust Video Games Should Be A Billion Dollar Industry

MELBOURNE: Poor government support for the Australian video game development industry, and flagging overseas investment has left Australia missing out on a global market worth $250 billion.

New research shows income generated by Australian game studios in the 2019-2020 financial year totalled $184.6 million – or just six cents for every dollar made by the industry globally.

Ron Curry, CEO of Australia’s Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, said game developers compete in a global environment and that locals are being unnecessarily disadvantaged.

“Every other developed nation in the world has government incentive packages in place for game developers. Everywhere except Australia,” Curry said.

In 2016 a Senate committee recommended that both a refundable tax offset and direct funding for games be established, similar to the support given to other screen media. Since then similar recommendations have come from Austrade and the Small Business Ombudsman. But Curry said the support hadn’t eventuated.

“When we do get to sit with them; when we do get to speak to them; they absolutely see the economics of it.” said Curry. “I just think maybe they don’t see it as a serious industry.”

Limited support and incentives have shown what can be done to foster some acclaimed Australian developed hits including Untitled Goose Game, Florence, Hollow Knight and Golf Story.

The new research, commissioned by the Interactive Games and Entertainment (IGEA) and conducted by Premium Research, found around 87 percent of all Australian game revenue in the last financial year came from overseas players.

Revenue from Australian games was up 29 per cent year on year, but Curry projects the local industry could be worth a billion dollars within ten years if given the level of support.

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