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Screen Australia announces over $3 million in support of the digital games industry

20/07/2023

20 07 2023 - Media release Screen Australia announces over $3 million in support of the digital games industry

Memory's Reach

Screen Australia has announced $600,000 through the First Nations Games Studio fund and additionally over $2.4 million of funding for 21 games through the Games: Expansion Pack fund. The games span a wide range of genres and platforms and are being developed by teams from across Australia.

First launched in March 2022, Screen Australia's Games: Expansion Pack is targeted at emerging or small to medium independent game studios and provides direct funding for original Australian games with budgets below $500,000. It has distributed over $8 million to 62 Australian games since its inception. Screen Australia will reopen games funding rounds on 2 October 2023.

Screen Australia announced today two successful studios that have been selected to each receive $300,000 through the First Nations Games Studio fund. They are GUCK and Awesome Black. This fund was launched in May to support games studios led by First Nations game developers and is the first of its kind on a national scale.

Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke said, It's fantastic that Screen Australia now has the funding it needs for video games. That's why we set up these dedicated funds for this growing and important industry supporting local games developers.

Screen Australia's CEO Graeme Mason said, It was amazing to see the high volume of incredibly strong applications for this latest round of Games: Expansion Pack and also for the inaugural First Nations Games Studio fund. These projects and these studios represent a fantastic mix of exciting games from talented creators around the country and it is great to be able to support them to accelerate their skills and talent, and to bring their creative visions to life. We are so proud of the level of talent in the games industry in Australia, and feel the best is yet to come for our games developers both locally and on the international stage.

This announcement comes after the Federal Government introduced the Digital Games Tax Offset to provide projects with budgets over $500,000 with a 30% tax incentive. This investment has been coupled with an additional $12 million over four years from 2023/24 to support digital games developers and small and medium independent games studios through Screen Australia.

It was recently outlined in the 2021/22 Australian Bureau of Statistics film, television and digital games survey that Australia's digital games sector has experienced substantial growth since the previous 2015/16 survey. It reported that the sector experienced a 265% increase in income, a 68% increase in the number of games produced and a 203% increase in employment amongst digital game developers the largest growth across all sectors in the Australian screen industry.

The studios funded through the First Nations Games Studio fund are:

GUCK (VIC): Based in Victoria and led by company directors Hayley Percy (Wiradjuri) and Kati Elizabeth, GUCK have spent the past four years heavily investing into professional development, pre-production, community collaboration and consultation. They are currently working on an Aboriginal-led mobile game Future Folklore where all positions of leadership on the game are held by First Peoples and is governed by the Blak Cloud advisory board. GUCK currently employs eight First Nations on-going staff and a wide range of additional First Nations casual staff and contractors, and are committed to supporting people from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented groups. GUCK are excited to share more details about their new game over the coming 12 months.

Awesome Black (NSW): Awesome Black is a creative social enterprise developing original First Nations talent and unique storytelling content across a variety of mediums including podcasting, literature, video gaming and XR, music, photography and digital art. Awesome Black is dedicated to building pathways towards equitable access to authentically represented, resourced and compensated First Nations participation in all creative industries. Awesome Black is committed to developing best practice programs, networks, skills and tools within First Nations communities to provide current and future generations with sustainable avenues for employment, creative expression, financial security and storytelling.

The projects funded through the Games: Expansion Pack are:

Ailuri (NSW): A 2D, hand-drawn cooperative exploration platformer where players take on the role of the titular Ailuri, a red panda who rescues endangered animals. In order to protect this fantastical world from environmental destruction, players will need to take control of the small but mighty hero to complete vast levels, rescue adorable animals and defeat massive bosses. The team consists of creative director Liezl Ronquillo, composer Thomas Connell, lead programmer Tyrone Sobb, quality assurance tester Austin Blakemore and 2D Artist Lily Anderson. This project has previously received assistance as part of the Incubator Program from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.

Covert Crew (WA): This role-playing, story-driven game is created by solo developer Daniel Pratt and combines the flashy, action-packed world of superheroes with the methodical play of a turn-based strategy game. Set in a near-future fantasy world, the Covert Crew is a team of unconventional heroes, motivated by good rather than fame and greed. In this game, players recruit a diverse cast of characters from different backgrounds who possess unique superpowers. Together, they must learn to co-exist as a team while working in the shadows in order to stop a villainous syndicate aiming to upset the balance of power.

darkwebSTREAMER (SA): From We Have Always Lived In The Forest, darkwebSTREAMER is a horror RPG strea
LINK: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/sa/media-centre/news/2023/07-18-ove...
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