Back in June last year Senator Scott Ludlum secured an inquiry into the state of the Australian games industry and how the government could help support its growth.
That resulted in a large amount of submissions and suggested solutions.
Today, at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Melbourne the committee is discussing these proposed solutions with some of the major players in the Australian games industry.
[Pic via Ben Britten Smith]
The discussion is taking place right now (you can listen here). Tony Reed, the CEO of the Games Development Association Of Australia, is in attendance, alongside Giselle Rosman of Hipster Whale and Ben Britten Smith, the Technical Director at Mighty Games.
Dr. Dan Golding, the Director of Freeplay and frequent Kotaku contributor, is scheduled to address the committee at 10.45am. A representative from Swinburne University of Technology is scheduled to speak at 11.30am and there's a panel section featuring developers from Black Delta, Mighty Games Group, Tin Man Games and Well Placed Cactus.
So far the committee seems receptive to the idea of investment in video games in general (with one committee member confessing she plays a lot of Crossy Road — "the logs always get me"). Some concerns were raised by the committee with regards to the lack of diversity in the local industry. At last count only 8.7% of game developers employed in the Australian Games Industry were women. All agreed that was a problem that required fixing. Giselle Rosman spoke to the brain drain the Australian industry suffered as a result of the global financial crisis and the impact that had locally.
There's also discussion around government funding and what those potential funding systems would look like.
It's too early to estimate the impact this inquiry will have, and what the end result will be, but it is heartening to see these issues being discussed with people who have the power to possibly make things happen. The Australian government scrapped its $20 million strong Interactive Media Fund with absolutely zero consultation with the local games industry. In that respect, the existence of this committee feels like a step forward.