How Western Australia’s Funding For Games Came Together

The arts and culture scene in NSW has received a boost in the just-released State Budget, but if there is anything for interactive games developers, it is yet to be extracted from the detail. Australian developers still rely on state funding, with federal initiatives almost non-existent and not enough support from the private sector.

But Western Australia has bucked the trend, with the state’s Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries partnering with Screenwest, to announce a $100,000 fund for the local games industry.

[referenced url=”” thumb=”×10801-410×231.jpg” title=”Western Australia Just Started Their Own Interactive Games Fund” excerpt=”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.”]

Vee Pendergrast is a games developer and co-founder of WA-based Stirfire Studios. She has been consulting for Screenwest for some time – and was the driving force behind the interactive media fund.

“The interactive sector in Western Australia is crazy and amazing,” she explained. “It’s been utterly huge and the community has been very forgiving.

“We want to be able to support all forms of creative interactive work.”

Ms Pendergrast is used to working with government. During the 2016 WA Election, she consulted on video games policy for the Greens. She recalled an interaction at her games studio last year, with former Screenwest CEO Seph McKenna.

Mr McKenna wanted to know why Screenwest should consider funding the interactive scene.

“I pointed to a TV screen behind us and it was a YouTube clip of a game made in Western Australia,” she said. “[I said] “That’s why Screenwest should be supporting our industry.’ A small grant can go on to change developers’ lives.”

Ms Pendergrast’s efforts paid off, with the joint project to focus on video games and interactive storytelling.

And she says it is just the beginning, with plans for a much larger program.

“We are already talking to the government about forms of infrastructure to support the games industry.

“What we are doing is creating a pathway … a stepping stone to something much greater.”

Zachariah Kelly is a third year journalist student at UTS. This story was originally published on Central News, and you can read the original here.

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