Screen Australia Announces Games: Expansion Pack Grant For Small Developers

Screen Australia Announces Games: Expansion Pack Grant For Small Developers

Screen Australia has announced Games: Expansion Pack, a new grant that will offer production funding to smaller games.

The grant is aimed at games with development budgets below A$500,000, and will across both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 financial years. Here’s what’s involved:

According to Screen Australia, developers can apply for Games: Expansion Pack funding for two or more games under the $500,000 budget threshold. If your game (or games) make it through, you can expect to receive up to A$150,000 in total funding. Games can be for any platform and should be original IP. If you’re working on something that uses a licensed IP, you can still apply but Screen Australia makes it clear they’re particularly keen on original works.

To be considered, your game will have to meet certain proof-of-concept requirements. You can read about these requirements on the Screen Australia website, but the short version is: build a playable demo. Here’s what you’ll need to provide, straight from Screen Australia:

  • ideally, a playable prototype of the game(s); or
  • an animated gameplay trailer for the game(s).

Applicants will also need to submit:

  • a video pitch of no more than 3 minutes outlining the vision for the game(s) and the impact of a successful release on the applicant’s business;
  • a development plan, including schedule and milestones;
  • a financing plan and budget to completion and release (in the prescribed format);
  • details of existing financing deals (such as grant agreements or deal memos); and
  • a marketing and release plan no fewer than 3 pages long.

Further, there are a few criteria on which each game will be assessed:

  • the level of creativity and entertainment value of the game(s);
  • the viability of the budget and development and financing plans to enable the game(s) to be developed to release;
  • the viability of the marketing and release plan(s); and
  • the potential for the game(s) to contribute to the scale and sustainability of the applicant.

Screen Australia says it will notify successful applications of the outcome of their submission by mid-June 2022.

Though Games: Expansion Pack is aimed at small-to-medium games and studios, larger studios looking for funding shouldn’t be discouraged. For those working on higher budget games above the $500,000 threshold, there is likely still government support available in the form of the Digital Games Tax Offset. That scheme is set to come into effect from 1 July 2022.

IGEA CEO Ron Curry, who’s been having a pretty good week, to be honest, was quick to welcome the initiative.

“Screen Australia’s Games: Expansion Pack is a very welcome addition to the suite of already announced government funding for Australian game developers and signals that games are an integral part of the screen industry,” said Curry in a statement. “The Federal Government has consulted very closely with IGEA and the Australian game development sector to commit to the introduction of the Digital Games Tax Offset (DGTO), a globally competitive tax incentive of 30% to be launched on 1 July 2022. Coupled with the new Games: Expansion Pack initiative, we expect to see accelerated growth for highly creative and skilled Australian games studios and practitioners.”

If you’re keen to find out more about the Games: Expansion Pack initiative, IGEA and Screen Australia will be running a webinar on March 16 at 4 pm AEDT to explain it all. You can register for that right here, and submit any questions you might have before kick-off.

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