The Senate Wants Your Thoughts On The Future Of Australian Game Development

When the Australian government struck a red line through $10 million of federal funding for video games, the local industry was understandably upset. In response Greens Senator Scott Ludlam secured a government inquiry into the state of games development in Australia and what the government could do to help.

Just a friendly reminder: that inquiry is looking for submissions.

The call for submission ends September 18 but has only received one submission to date, from ODD games.

We confirmed with a spokesperson from Parliament House. Often submissions are made, but aren't posted online until a later date. This is not the case here. The inquiry has only received one submission, but apparently this is quite normal. Most industry bodies wait until closer to the end-date to submit.

Ron Curry of the IGEA confirmed to us that he's sitting on a 28 page submission. Tony Reed, CEO of Game Developers' Association of Australia, confirmed that he would be submitting to the inquiry. He also mentioned that his submission would be used as a template by many other Australian studios to help present their thoughts to the inquiry. According to him there would plenty more activity in the lead up to September 18.

Plenty of other local developers have also confirmed to us that submissions are being worked on.

Which is a relief. This is an important inquiry for the Australian industry. Many of our strongest remaining studios were helped along the way with government funding, funding that has been paid back in full (and then some) with overseas revenue brought in by multiple successful game releases.

I suspect that, by September 18, there will be plenty of submissions but this is just a reminder: anyone can put a submission to the inquiry. Organisations and individuals are encouraged to post their thoughts and opinions to the inquiry.

The terms of reference are as follows

On 22 June 2015 the Senate referred the following matter for inquiry and report by 1 April 2016.
The future of Australia's video game development industry, with particular reference to:
a) how Australia can best set regulatory and taxation frameworks that will allow the local video game development industry to grow and fully meet its potential as a substantial employer, b) how Australia can attract video game companies to set up development operations in Australia and employ local staff, c) how export opportunities from Australia's local video game industry can be maximised, and d) any other related matters.

If you are interested, you can find out more information on how to make a submission here


Comments

    I hope this eventually leads to the funding being reinstated and increased. They need only look at how much the global gaming industry is already worth and how much it's growing compared to the film industry to see that it's a worthy investment. Unfortunately many politicians seem to have very narrow minded views about the gaming industry and think the average gamer age is 13 years old, when it's more than double that.

    Last edited 03/09/15 2:25 pm

      Pfft! Why would gaming need funding?

      Bunch of leaners that they are! Haven't you heard the age of corporate entitlement is OVER! OVER! We gladly closed off all those pesky car manufacturing for the betterment of our country and cut back on CSIRO and all their wacky useless inventions and cutting back such pie in the sky ideas like "solar" panels and "wind" farms... why should we waste money on this?

      If it's a proper sustainable profitable market then it shouldn't need any funding/government assistance/tax incentives! Like mining!

      (yes that was sarcasm)

        Damn I was hoping that you hadn't noted that it was sarcasm so I could sarcastically agree.

    yeah, like they care after what they pulled when they were elected.

    Morons

    The call for submission ends September 18 but has only received one submission to date, from ODD games.

    No surprise there. It was petitioned by one of the main attention seekers in the Greens who also happens to be the least informed when it comes to anything IT related (gaming or otherwise).

    If Brendan O'Conner petitioned this, they would have had to close submissions earlier due to overwhelming attention.

    Last edited 03/09/15 2:36 pm

      Wow ..... the "least informed" hey?

      Scott Ludlam is the MOST informed politician of any out there at this present moment IT related. Brendan O'Connor ... ROFL!

        Scott Ludlam is the MOST informed politician of any out there at this present moment IT related

        You keep saying that. He said at PAX that anyone who uses the envelope analogy has no idea about IT.

        Truth, the envelope analogy clearly shows how the meta-data retention is flawed, is a common example used to teaching computer networks, and definitively shows Ludlum is not informed at all.

        Ludlum is just another attention seek in the Greens psudo-party and this is where I leave the discussion as I will not entertain rhetoric and inverse views on reality.

        Brendan O'Connor is one of the few competent members on the Labor side and deserves a medal for standing up for Australian's when Michael Atkinson (another Labor member) decided his narrow religious views trumped everyone else.

      Does it matter? Don't bite the hand that feeds. He's the one who did something about it.

        1. It does matter because he is uninformed and is no substance - he's just a self-indulgant attention seeker like most other Green members.

        2. He's only feeding himself and I'm not biting any hand.

        3. I'm saying this for the last time - the Greens only walk in on issues started by other parties and create noise.

        I want something done as much as the next guy - but not with the Greens' grubby finger prints soiling things.

        Seriously, I'll even consider the matter in order if Conroy petitioned it. Anyone (besides the PUPs) is better than any member of the Greens.

        Last edited 03/09/15 6:57 pm

          So basically what you're saying, is that it DOESN'T matter and you're just whinging because your personally preferred politic man didn't trumpet this initiative? Pretty petty dude.

            So basically what you're saying, is that it DOESN'T matter

            Correct, because it was petition by a Green.

            and you're just whinging because your personally preferred politic man didn't trumpet this initiative?

            Incorrect. I made is clear I would prefer anyone beside the Greens or PUP launched this because they are for real politicians.

            The Greens are just attention seekers and contaminate virtually everything they touch and only do what they do for their own clout.

            And this is where I end the discussion. I made it clear it's hallow thanks to Ludlam and no warping of what I've posted will change the highlighted reality.

            Last edited 04/09/15 6:59 am

              The problem with Australian politics right here, folks. Damned if they do try to change something because LOL THE GREENS and damned if they don't (THE GREENS ARE LAZY.)

              At least they're attempting a change, which despite your head in the sand responses, does matter. The two major parties don't care and aren't nearly as opposite on the scale as they like to think. Scott represents the modern voter more than you think..

              @WiseHacker
              ""So basically what you're saying, is that it DOESN'T matter"

              Correct, because it was petition by a Green."

              Man, I struggle to think of a dumber comment I've seen on Australian politics.. and I've read comments in the Daily Telegraph. You basically do not care what Ludlam has to say because "he is from the Greens".

              You want to debate particular things he has to say, or a particular stance or policy issue or anything like that, then that would be fine. But what you're saying is that this inquiry would be a good idea, except that it's not because it was championed by Ludlam, who is a Green.

              If you can't see how utterly and completely pants-on-head-retarded a comment that is, then it's no wonder that Australian politics and political debate is a such a sorry affair.

              Also, trumpeting Conroy as someone we should respect in terms of telecommunications and the Internet? The man who first tried to bring us an Internet filter?

              There are plenty of issues on which I disagree with Ludlam, and yes, at times he seems to spend too much time garnering support via social media - but dismissing this action when it's potentially going to make a positive contribution to an industry that we should be happy to have supported is sheer idiocy.

              Last edited 04/09/15 10:15 am

                Glad I'm not the only one seeing this idiocy. Thought I was going crazy.

    Can I offer a helpful suggestion for anyone reading this looking to make a submission?

    I've made a bunch of submissions to assorted inquiries in my professional life, and if you want it to be noticed and respect:

    1- Don't use a form response, as they'll open it and go "oh another one" and close it again. Even if you're making the same points, rewrite it
    2- Be courteous- the least useful response to one of these things is "You Suck"
    3- Back up your arguments with data- don't just write in and say "I think just because"
    4- format it properly- look at the guidelines
    5- Answer the bloody question
    6- you can be strongly worded and strident, but don't be hyperbolic. No one will believe you if you say "The Games industry if supported will be making eleventy billion dollars within twelve months"

    Too often I've seen submissions to these things that fail the above, and they make you look like a pillock at best and hurt your argument at worst.

    Fuck the Australian games industry, fix the NBN first and that would help a lot...

      That's the thing though. The games industry requires nothing but the human imagination and time. The NBN requires materials, labour and time. If you pay for the initial development, you can reap rewards much greater than your initial investment. But like any business venture, you can also fall out and lose money on a failed idea.

      Weighing the risks and whatnot, if you fund the games industry. Using nothing but human imagination and time, they can then fund your NBN.

      Then again, you can just as easily say "fund the NBN, everyone will get on it 'cause it's better/mandatory after a while, you'll eventually make up the costs and the rest is gravy".

      Last edited 03/09/15 10:00 pm

        Big game developers aren't going to make games here if the quickest way to send data is by post.

          That's another thing.

          Arguably we don't want big developers (whom the majority are foreign) swooping in, establishing themselves and then moving profits back to their countries of origin.

          We want as much of that money to stay as local as possible. Games can overtake mining, we just have to be clever and quick about it.

    For anyone thinking of penning a submission, I recommend adhering to the points @RowlfArtifice mentions.

    The NBN is one of the biggest issues facing the local games industry, it's sure to get many mentions in the submissions made, just as it did when Creative Victoria arranged meetings with the Victorian games industry to discuss what can be done to support and grow the sector.

    +1 to @RowlfArtiface's suggestions with regards to submission formats.

    I know I'm a few days late on this but if you're like me and are actually having trouble even finding where this inquiry is actually happening, it's under the Environment and Communications committee: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Video_game_industry/Terms_of_Reference

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