Scott Ludlam: Australian Government Is Missing "Extraordinary Opportunity" With Games

When the Australian government ran a red line through the Interactive Games Fund it removed $20 million dollars from an industry that always paid back its investments and then some. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam is currently attempting to change the way the federal government thinks about video games. According to him, we're missing out on an "extraordinary opportunity".

It was Scott Ludlam who called for an inquiry into the Australian games industry and what can be done to help facilitate its growth. Government support has helped countries like Canada dramatically grow their games industry. According to Ludlum there's no reason why Australia can't pull off the same trick.

Speaking to The Australian, Ludlam discussed the inquiry.

"Just looking at it from a purely hard-headed economic perspective, we are missing an extraordinary opportunity here," he said.

“You look at the inhabitants of parliament — a lot of them don’t take the sector seriously and perhaps they never will. But that doesn’t mean we can wait around for them to disappear. We have to build the case and build the evidence base.”

Speaking to folks involved in local games development, the most frustrating thing about the loss of the Interactive Games Fund was the fact it was done without any consultation whatsoever. People like Tony Reed from the Games Developers Association of Australia weren't even given the chance to discuss or petition for the fund to remain. This inquiry is a chance to weigh up the benefits of government support, and hopefully give the local industry a fresh layer of support.

Games industry hopes to push right buttons with politicians [The Australian]


    The Australian government is missing everything. Dark Ages here we come.

      Fun facts, 5 myths about the dark ages you probably believe are true:

        I'm pretty sure that like us, people in the dark ages didn't have fast internet either at least.

    Non-cynical (honestly!) answer - the games industry must just need better (and better funded) lobbyists. There are plenty of other big-budget industries that seem to sway government policy (on both sides) towards supporting loss-making ventures...

    Last edited 14/07/15 12:00 pm

    Tony Abbott: "Huh? What does this have to do with coal?"

      If Gina Rinehart ever becomes prime minister, I'm moving country.

        She'd never take the pay cut... or a job that involves more than swimming in Daddy's money pool, a la Scrooge McDuck.

      Game idea: You play the part of a mine engineer who must mine the coal beneath Sydney in such a way that the city doesnt sink into a pit.

    I'd like to take this moment to announce my new game Coal Simulator TM. Thanks for the funding Tones.

      That's a good idea that kind of writes itself. You could have evil Sun and Wind boss battles.

        where you have to keep shovelling coal until the smoke blocks out the sun and coats the wind turbines with so much soot that they stop turning...

          and the turbines keep getting cleaned by Asylum seekers, so you have to stop the boats.

            Let's be honest your game doesn't stand a chance because you relied on wind and solar that could barely run a calculator and then had nothing to play it on because you banned mining for material.

            Technically your game would entail banging two sticks together again and using a lot of imagination.

              Technically your game would entail banging two sticks together again and using a lot of imagination.

              Whoa whoa whoa! You realise that we're talking about coal simulator right now? Obviously you've got it confused with LNP Budget & Policy Simulator, that game's not even in development yet!

                I heard a rumor that it's pay-to-win.

              Take your coal and shove it bud.

                Yes but most likely you'd blame that "unusual wind" on climate change which is a bad and needs to be stopped. Congratulations on "one day".

                Too bad the world needs power more often than during freak occurrences.

                  Of course that's a freak day. A simple google search should give you all the info you need on the subject though. I could do it for you, but I trust you're smart enough.

                  Last edited 14/07/15 10:54 pm

      After you finish the game you're ready for a job in a real mine. After 10 years when the coal is all gone you get to be unemployed just like the farmers in the area. But don't fret too much about that because the Rapture is coming and God will magically save us from this disaster we've created.


    Games companies didn't provide backing to the LNP. Simple as. You don't do that, you don't get a voice.

    Also, I feel Scott should highlight such things as more than the Interactive Games Funds was spent by the Federal Government AND tax breaks offered by the QLD Government at the time to get Pirates of the Caribbean 5 filmed here. That's 1 film compared to funding for a whole industry. As Scott said, very few senators and politicians understand games and a lot of them never will.

    I hope it works and the games industry in Australia can take off again, but I feel there are too many hardened skeptics around to try and convince. Putting out dollar value on the impact of Canadian investment though might work. If there's 1 thing politicians will notice, it's $$$ and jobs being created.

      "Heeey, nice little business you have here games industry. A shame if something were to, happen, to it. But for a little charity to our organisation we can provide, protection, heh heh heh"

    "You look at the inhabitants of parliament — a lot of them don’t take the sector seriously and perhaps they never will."

    Most of the "inhabitants of parliament" (i.e. old rich white guys) hear the words "video games" and want to know how many Space Invader cabinets they get for $20 million.

    At least they gave us (Australia) our "R Rating" for games :D

    Last edited 14/07/15 12:27 pm

      You mean the MA rating that allows slightly more violent videogames?

        Haven't we had more games refused classification on average since before the R rating though? So if anything, it means we're allowed slightly less violent games than before.

          Fallout 3 would still have been banned even with our R rating.

          Only because we adopted a new method to class games through. If you actually look at the list, a lot of those games would have never seen the light of day anyway.

      Yeah, thanks to what actually is IN the classification, that was a pretty dubious 'victory'.

    We should go back to CD and DVD-ROM distribution for games because obviously the government won't get behind anything that you can't burn.

    It's ridiculous that the most financially successful entertainment products of all time is computer game. And Mark's absolutely right about these grants more than paying for themselves. A friend of mine was granted $30,000 a few years ago and their game ended up being really successful and generated half a million dollars. The result of that investment was the creation of a successful development team which has released a number of successful apps and games and generated tax revenue to repay the grant ten times over.

    Unfortunately, the controlling government (and to be fair, the same can be said for the opposition) has other interest and none of which involve improving entertainment or the technology surrounding it.

    The IGF was axed under that "big, scary budget crisis" and it was done by a conservative government that fails to recognise anything that doesn't involve teh boatz, teh coalz or teh terroristz.

    Well I'm taking back the scholarship in Game Development I was granting to Tony Abbott's daughter. She deserves it though.

    Compared to the disaster that is Labor, i'm proud to have Tony Abbott as PM.

      Really? That's like comparing something that fell out of your ass to something you just pulled out of your nose. Surely you want better than bodily waste to run this country?

    the automotive industry couldn't stand on its own feet and had funding pulled, why are we surprised that an industry that employs a lot less people gets the same treatment?

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