Screen Australia (SA) took the stage at GCAP 2011 to outline new options before the Australian government to help the game development community thrive again.
The options involve a range of activities, including tax credits, offsets, direct investment and more.
SA is proposing 30% tax credit on 'eligible' expenditure for games (with a minimum expenditure threshhold of $500'000), and a 20% tax credit on (again) 'eligible' expenditure (with a minimum expenditure of $200'000).
The Interactive Entertainment (Games) Offset being proposed would expand the existing film 'Producer Offset' and would not require an additional application or eligibility test. (Current levels within film are at 40% for features and 20% for other projects under various threshhold.)
The Online Production Fund would be focused on 'narrative', but with unique media including browser-based and other less obvious methods of telling stories.
Screen Australia launched 'Playing for Keeps' at Game Connect Asia Pacific 2011, a report which takes stock of the interactive entertainment environment, and put forward options for the government to play its role in helping develop the development community. The report makes the case clear and concise, and delivers choices for levels of impact and where it will be the most effective.
It is MCV Pacific's understanding that the government has been aware of the process of producing this report and is fully aware of the measures being proposed to help save the industry.
Dr Ruth Harley, recently appointed CEO to Screen Australia, has seen games with a fresh set of eyes, and has been working closely with Antony Reed from the Game Developers' Association of Australia to find ways to help Screen Australia support games for some time now.
Harley, speaking at GCAP 2011, said: "We're interested in connecting all audiences through screens. We know we can connect people through film and television screens, but we know that we can also connect people through your screens as well."
Reed added: "No partnership has been more important for the games industry than Screen Australia."
These proposed incentives come after the recent announcement that the Digital Media Initiative would be re-run and renamed the Interactive Media Fund, and also shortly after significant other tax incentives were announced by the Australian government.
With studios adhering to the traditional model of working for overseas companies on larger projects which often see all the developers' eggs in one basket closing throughout Australia recently, there is currently a huge amount of talent looking to work.
These incentives could combine to create a very prosporous and well-supported industry, and a far more appealing local milieu for any new developer to set up in.
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