What would a tax rebate for game developers do for Australia? If that was the only question the government had, it could be easily answered by looking at Canada, specifically Montreal in the Province of Quebec.
Sound familiar? It's where Ubisoft Montreal is based, arguably one of the top development houses in the world. It's also the home of Assassin's Creed. Need I say more?
In 1996, Quebec established a special fiscal program for multimedia titles, whereby companies developing games could receive a tax credit on labour costs. Depending on the type of game being made, developers can currently receive a break of up to 30%, with an additional 7.5% for French-language titles.
How effective have these tax incentives been? I asked Ubisoft Montreal's creative director Patrice Desilets this very question while he was here promoting Assassin's Creed.
So Ubisoft grew bigger, and since then EA came, now we have Eidos. Smaller companies of Quebec became larger. Right now, I think it's 4000 people in the Montreal area are working in games. When I started [in July 1997] , it was maybe 200 people, maybe a little bit more. ... I read in the newspaper the other day, it was a survey about when Montreal ... is mentioned in international media, Ubisoft was the fourth reason Montreal was mentioned in any article.
Pretty impressive growth in 10 years, wouldn't you say?
It wasn't a dream as a French-Canadian to become a game designer. Now it is.
Why can't it be the Australian dream too?