The NSW Government — after years of being behind rival states — has announced late Monday morning that video game development will finally be available for a 10 percent tax rebate.
A release from the state’s Arts Minister and Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Minister has announced that the existing 10 percent post, digital, visual effects rebate currently available for film industries will be extended to the video games sector from October 1.
Perhaps a little grandiously, the release says NSW will become “the leading destination for digital game designers, creators and innovators”. That’s despite other states already offering rebates on video game production, or more extensive grants and production funding.
Still, the news is welcome for many Sydney developers and long overdue for the sector. Sydney publishers Blowfish Studios said in a release that “it means we can employ more creatives and developers to help us build our internationally acclaimed games”.
“We are very excited to shortly reveal our next game to the public,” Blowfish’s managing director and co-founder, Ben Lee, said.
Despite not having the same access to grants as other states, Sydney has no shortage of its own studios and developers that will benefit. Examples include the Sydney-headquartered Black Matter, repsonsible for the WW2 shooter Hell Let Loose, or Wargaming Sydney, the Australian base for the company best known for its World of Tanks games. Along with a host of indie developers throughout the state, MicroProse is also based in the state’s Hunter Valley, and SMG Studio recently surpassed 500,000 sales for their couch co-op party game Moving Out. Ubisoft is also expanding their studio base locally to include more developers, and there’s a host of game-adajacent work either in the local film industry or other forms of development.
“This incentive will help create jobs in NSW and boost export potential in this fast growing field which is valued at more than $US250 billion globally,” Minister Ayres said, adding that the skills and investment in local gaming would help other industries, including defence, space, health and robotics.
One of the local video game publishers with a footprint in Australia, Koch Media, added that the rebate could encourage more investment and studio expansion into NSW.
“This rebate will not only allow existing NSW-based companies to further grow their businesses, but also provide a platform for overseas studios and investors to consider NSW as a destination,” Roger Clarke, managing director of Koch Media, said.