The Games Production program supports games developers by providing funding for individual projects, with the aim of:
encouraging the creation and retention of original IP
supporting business growth via game success for developers who don’t access Games Enterprise Funds
providing a new source of finance that can trigger the development of innovative games
assisting developers to increase the ambition and quality of games.
The program contributes finance to games at the stage where a prototype or animated gameplay trailer has been produced to demonstrate the core game mechanic and features, and sample key art has been created. Some commitment from investors may also be in place.
Funding can contribute towards all aspects of game development including marketing and lifetime content. Any marketing expenditure should not replace, but rather add value to a publisher’s commitment where one is attached.
Projects may be created for any games platform, and their focus may be commercial (revenue-generating), cultural (issue-raising, educational, artistic) or innovative (breaking new ground), as long as they are intended for public release.
Browse the guidelines below or download as a PDF at right
Screen Australia will consider applications for any amount appropriate to the nature and scale of the game, up to a maximum of $500,000 per project.
Rather than supporting an individual stage of development, funding is intended to contribute to the total budget for getting a game to market (and beyond, depending on the nature of the game and its monetisation strategies), with funds provided in instalments at key milestones that will be set out in the funding agreement (see Terms of Funding below).
The level of funding sought should relate closely to the project’s development plan, release plan and market potential, and the share of the budget accounted for by Screen Australia investment could vary significantly, depending on the nature and scale of the game. Screen Australia would expect to contribute a smaller proportion alongside other substantial investors in the case of higher-budget games, and to provide a higher proportion of total finance in the case of lower-budget games that may otherwise be self-financed and self-published.
It should be noted that successful applicants may not receive the full amount requested. The level of Screen Australia’s funding commitment will be determined by the decision making process and the total demand on funds.
An application must first meet the following eligibility criteria in order to be competitively assessed for funding through this program.
The applicant company must:
meet the General Eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade; in particular, it must be incorporated and carrying on business in Australia, and have its central management and control in Australia; and
be able to demonstrate that it:
- is in the business of developing games, and
- has control of the development process.
The game that is the subject of the application must:
be intended for public release;
incorporate original IP held by the applicant company or key principals; and
- a game made for internal training purposes only,
- an adver-game (commissioned for corporate marketing purposes); or
- a game involving gambling.
The creative team responsible for the game must include at least two experienced games practitioners, each of whom has:
credits in a senior development role on at least two publicly available games,
at least two years experience in a senior development role on large-scale PC or console game/s.
A ‘senior development role’ is defined as a leading role in the areas of production, design, art or programming. A ‘large-scale PC or console game’ would have a budget around $4 million or more.
A sole developer may apply if they have created and released at least two publicly available games as a sole developer.
If a project has previously been assessed and declined for funding under this program, it is not eligible to apply again unless significant changes have been made, and a statement will need to be provided setting out the major changes made since the previous submission. Screen Australia will consider this statement when deciding whether or not to accept the application and assess it again for funding. (Note: after two unsuccessful submissions, no further applications for this project will be accepted.)
Application process and materials
You must apply using the application form available on the Screen Australia website. As part of your application, you will need to submit:
an Electronic Proof of Concept (EPOC) – ideally a playable prototype and/or
an animated gameplay trailer – demonstrating the core game mechanic. You can’t just apply with paperwork.
a game design document and development plan, including production schedule, with appropriate milestones
a marketing and publishing/release plan
a business impact statement setting out how this game will contribute to and/or help you build your business, and any plans to exploit IP such as technology, franchises, spinoffs, merchandising
a statement setting out how success will be measurable and quantifiable on your specific project, and how you will achieve these targets
a simple talk-to-camera ‘video pitch’ of no more than three minutes, where the key principals present their vision for the game
200 word bios and CVs (with LinkedIn reference) for key creative team
a full budget to completion and release in a standard format (template available from Screen Australia website)
a finance plan in a standard format available from the Screen Australia website.
Marketplace and other sources of funding: Marketplace attachments are not required, although involvement of a relevant marketplace entity may improve the competitiveness of the application. Further, where a marketplace relationship is essential for release, such as a game for XBLA or PSN, Screen Australia would expect to see evidence of such relationship as part of the application.
Co-funding with state agencies, other government organisations, educational institutions or other partners is also encouraged.
Legal and administration fee: No fee is charged for applications to this program. However, as per our Terms of Trade, where an application is approved, Screen Australia will charge a legal and administration fee at 2 per cent of the value of the Screen Australia support. This amount should be included in the budget and finance plan of any application.
Eligible applications will be assessed by a committee of Screen Australia executives and external industry assessors, taking into account the following criteria:
Strength of the proposal, including
- entertainment value, and
- level of creativity and innovation
Market potential, including
- ongoing development/release plan, and
- appropriateness and viability of marketing strategies
Budget and financing, including
- appropriateness of the budget relative to the scope of the game and its target market;
- proportion of the overall budget provided through other/third party sources; and
- the extent to which the development process is undertaken in Australia by Australians
The project’s ability to enhance business sustainability, including
- the level of intellectual property retained by the developer, and
- opportunities offered for job creation, skills development and/or mentorship.
The experience, expertise and talents of the company and the key principals involved in the project, including:
- the relevance and quality of their track record;
- their creative and business networks; and
- their demonstrated capacity to deliver the plan.
Other factors, including availability of funds and diversity of projects, may also influence Screen Australia’s decisions. Shortlisted applicants may be interviewed.
Decisions on applications are final. Screen Australia will advise applicants in writing of the outcome of their application. Where an application is declined, the applicant will be advised of the reason.
Terms of funding
Where Screen Australia funding is $50,000 or under, it will be provided as a grant. In this case, the Screen Australia funding will be agreed upfront and not varied, other than in exceptional circumstances.
Where Screen Australia funding is more than $50,000, it is provided as a recoupable investment, with copyright and recoupment terms in accordance with the agency’s Terms of Trade.
The funding agreement will contain detailed terms consistent with our Terms of Trade requirements and these guidelines.
Copyright: Screen Australia will hold 1 per cent share in the copyright and other intellectual property rights (where relevant) in all projects for which it provides recoupable investment.
Funding milestones: The funding agreement will set out key milestones appropriate to the project’s development plan, and progress against these milestones will be monitored at agreed intervals). Ongoing payments will be subject to satisfactory achievement of each milestone.
Screen Australia approvals: The agreement will also set out key elements that will require Screen Australia approval, which (among other things) will include changes to key creatives, the game description, the finance plan, and any market attachments.
Fairness and reasonableness: As set out in its Terms of Trade, Screen Australia requires all successful applicants to act fairly and reasonably towards all third parties participating in their projects.
[These guidelines were released on 11 March 2013.
Updated 5 June 2013 (application form and templates added)
Updated 26 June 2013 (change to Copyright text under 'Terms of funding'; minor amendments to finance plan template) ]
Updated 30 September 2013 (application timing)
Updated 10 December 2013 (revised application form; revision to structure of assessment criteria)
Updated 14 May 2014 (program closed)