Western Australia Just Started Their Own Interactive Games Fund

Support for a federally-backed Interactive Games Fund might be thin on the ground right now, but state governments are doing a good job of coming to the table. Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland have all provided some measure of support to growing local gamedev, and now Western Australia has joined the party with an Interactive Pilot Fund of their own.

The pilot fund is relatively small—$100,000 in total—but is targeted exclusively at developers in the state working on VR and video games. According to the official Screenwest release, the state will also hold its own VR XR Festival later in July, designed to showcase local talent and projects.

Studios can apply for a maximum funding of $20,000 per project, with the official guidelines recommending the following:

The project that is subject to this application must:

1. Have a well-defined concept and product pitch.

2. Be intended for any electronic platform (including, but not limited to console, tablet, mobile, VR, AR/MR, XR and PC based platforms or any combinations of these platforms).

3. Have a clear national and/or international target audience, including an intended pathway to that audience through its distribution platform.

4. Present a clear finance plan, inclusive of any additional financing secured, and precisely how much work will be supplied in-kind by the developers.

5. Not be a commissioned project.

Any video game, serious video games, multi-platform ventures, extended reality, mixed reality, augmented reality or virtual reality development is eligible for funding. "All of which should be intended for release to national and international audience and have a well-designed procedural narrative," the Screenwest website says.

Interested developers can also learn more about the program, and applying for it, via an information session held at Screenwest's offices in East Perth on June 6. It'll run for an hour, but you'll need to register for a free ticket beforehand. Applications for the $100,000 fund close on July 1.


Comments

    The problem is that AU$20K just doesn't go very far. Great idea, but we live in a very expensive place. High wages, high rent, high cost of living.

    Still... who wants to make a game with me? :)

      Yeah $20k doesn't even cover a part time employee for a year

        Heck it only just covers the cost of a coffee on St. Georges Tce :)

      It's probably not designed to entirely fund development but just a way to help with costs.

        I don't work in software, but I mean if it's 60-100k per year per person, even with a small team the 20k will be like a drop in the ocean. Isn't there like a 30k instant tax rebate for small business for equipment or something?

          It will but again, it's not supposed to fund development. This appears to be aimed at small indie studios rather than more complex titles (despite the blurb they've attached to it). I agree $20k isn't much but again they're clearly not intending to fund development or kickstart larger projects, nor pay a wage to somebody to develop a game.

          To be fair these are merely token gestures to make it look like they're doing something, or potentially as part of a trial to see if it helps stimulate activity. They're not going to dump large amounts into our tiny video game sector unless it's already generating a healthy return - these sorts of things simply don't matter as much as stuff like healthcare, or social welfare, or transportation.

            The underlying issue is that government is looking out for itself and big business before it worries about fledgling industries and the little people.

            Like how the automotive industry was getting billions in subsidies and now it's all offshore. It's as if they're oblivious to the revenue of games like World of Warcraft, the FIFA series, Fortnite's micro transactions, Call of Duty, etc...

              Fortnight, WoW, FIFA, etc, aren't going to move here to Australia. We lack the infrastructure for a start.

              I'm sorry, I know it's an important issue to you, but the government (state or federal) giving money to game developers isn't anywhere near as big of a vote winner as giving money to healthcare or public works. The automotive industry received subsidies because it was a significant employer of non-skilled or low-skilled workers - game dev houses don't create those kinds of jobs.

                I just don't get the reasoning behind blindly propping up a massive and dying industry but ignoring emerging industries.

                I think it was something like 4-5 years ago some apprenticeship subsidy was put into place. Apprentices got a payout for studying and companies got a bonus for hiring. I work in a very large Australian company for a very rich man and all of a sudden the 100+ workers on this site (I don't have nationwide numbers) were being offered the apprenticeship. All the classwork was falsified, but everyone who opted in got their 5k over 2 years or whatever it was and the company got 5-10k (not sure of the exact figures) a head.

                Don't get me started on penalty rate cuts. Government funding for private schools. Tax exemptions for religious institutions. The world seems backwards sometimes.

                  It does seem backwards, and sometimes it is (esp. funding churches etc) - but 'emerging sectors' doesn't really encompass video games here, which are strongly established and clustered in particular areas (like the US). It's kind of like suggesting you can lure Facebook or Google to operate principally from Australia - it just isn't going to happen bar some catastrophic change in the US, no matter how much money you throw at them. All we're likely to see are small studios or indie devs.

                  Kotaku reported last year that a little over 900 people were employed in video game development in Australia full time, generating about $100m, predominately targeting mobile platforms and based on the east coast. It's a tiny sector, and the government aren't likely to toss money at it because there's still a high risk a dev studio can output a trashy mobile game (statistically, they're targeting mobile platforms!) that results in jack shit return for the economy. It also employs educated specialists predominately - artists and programmers - not low skilled or unskilled people.

                  You can call it 'looking out for themselves' (e.g. the government) but even if the sector doubled with funding, that's still only about 2000 people in a job - again, predominately specialists - in a sector which may turn out garbage and fold fairly quickly. It's never going to be a priority compared to any sector which employs large numbers of people, especially people who are low skilled, or who have popular utilitarian skill sets. If you asked the general population whether they wanted to see $200m go into game development studios, or tossing a few more ambulances on road, they're always going to pick the latter.

        In that case the prerequisites for getting the grant are too high. A larger companies has the resources to get those documents, but the amount isn't worth the time. A 2 man studio who would most benefit from that amount would likely not. For my solo project I applied for $7000 under the $2m SA Games fund (that was scrapped before I got it) and that didn't require the extensive paperwork that this does.

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