Tuesday 18 June 2013
Independent Australian game developers were provided with a timely $6 million fillip today as the sector recorded a decline in income and employment numbers.
Over recent years international publishers have vacated Australia for territories offering greater incentives and lower business costs. As a result, today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey shows employment levels falling from 1431 to 581 people.
The challenge for the independent Australian game developer has been how to grow the business, retain intellectual property, keep a skilled workforce and raise the necessary finance.
“Given that game development is the fastest growing sector of the worldwide audiovisual market from a consumer perspective, Australian developers should share in the $80 billion global market,” Screen Australia’s Chief Operating Officer Fiona Cameron said today.
“Screen Australia’s Game Enterprise program provides a diverse range of Australian companies with valuable funds to help develop original IP, employ more people, including promoting internships, and expand distribution and marketing opportunities,” she said.
The 10 successful Games Enterprise program recipient companies will receive the funding over a three-year period. They are (in alphabetical order):
Defiant Development (QLD) Morgan Jaffit, Dan Treble
ODD Games (SA) Ben Marsh, Terry O’Donoghue, David O’Donoghue
Soap Creative (NSW) Ashley Ringrose, Bradley Eldridge
Tantalus Media (VIC) Tom Crago
Tin Man Games (VIC) Ben Britten Smith, Neil Rennison
Torus Games (VIC) Bill McIntosh
Twiitch (VIC) Steven Spagnolo, Shane Stevens
Uppercut Games (NSW/ACT) Andrew James, Ryan Lancaster, Ed Orman
The Voxel Agents (VIC) Simon Joslin, Matthew Clark
Wicked Witch Software (VIC) Daniel Visser
“The successful companies represent a diverse range of Australian game studios, from start up companies to larger developers. Funding will ensure an expansion in the workforce, allowing smaller developers to gain critical mass and larger developers to shift from a reliance on work for hire to developing original projects,” Ms Cameron said.
With the assistance of Games Enterprise funding, Brisbane-based games development studio Defiant Development will be able to consolidate its existing success in mobile games, while also staking a claim in new and developing markets.
Soap Creative, an award-winning independent digital agency, will expand with a new mobile games division and use Games Enterprise funds to produce multiple mobile and tablet titles over the next three years based on its own original IP. The funding will also allow Soap Creative to provide internship opportunities and employ graduates.
With almost two decades in the industry, Tantalus Media has shipped games on most major platforms. Games Enterprise funding will enable Tantalus Media to commercialise new intellectual property and convert its existing successful games for new mobile platforms.
Tin Man Games, producers of high quality digital gamebooks, will use Games Enterprise funds to grow the business’s production capability and create a sustainable revenue stream to support the production of future games.
New funding will assist Torus Games, an established developer of quality children's titles, to develop and retain original intellectual property as well as capitalise on existing intellectual property.
Games Enterprise Funding will enable independent game development studio Twiitch to focus on original intellectual property projects and develop a slate of games aimed at the mobile free-to-play market.
Independent developer Uppercut Games has plans to expand its catalogue of game properties and extend the reach of its content to a truly global audience. Games Enterprise funding will allow it to maintain and further improve the quality of its games, enabling it to build on its premium position in the mobile market.
Award-winning games studio The Voxel Agents will use Games Enterprise funds to make the most of existing intellectual property and to release and update games more frequently.
Wicked Witch Software recently achieved international success with its title Catapult King (over 20 million downloads), and is in prime position to expand and secure a long-term future as an internationally recognised games developer on all the major platforms. Funding will assist Wicked Witch Software to create original intellectual property and to expand marketing and distribution capacities.
Further details on all the 2013 Games Enterprise recipients are available here
Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke announced the Games Enterprise recipients. Minister Burke said that the Australian Government was backing a new generation of creative entrepreneurs in the interactive games industry.
The first survey of the Australian screen production sector in five years was also released at the conference today. The digital games sector was included in the survey for the first time and recorded total income of $89.4 million. This result was unsurprisingly down from the first-ever survey of game developers five years ago. More information here
The deadline for Screen Australia’s Games Production fund, supporting games developers to produce individual games, is July 12.
For more details visit http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/funding/games/games_production.aspx
Teri Calder T: 02 8113 5833; M: 0408 440 995