IGEA letter to the Australian video games industry, May 2019
Dear Industry Colleagues,
We think it’s fair to say that the result of the weekend’s election has left some commiserating, others celebrating and many a little confused about what happened and what it means.
From a purely industry point of view, we are acutely aware of the disappointment many of you may be feeling, having had the return of the AIGF as a real possibility, only to have it very quickly snatched away, or at best, moved much further away. IGEA shares that disappointment.
Whilst the Coalition failed to make any similar election commitments around games industry funding, our discussions and lobbying efforts with them did not (and will not) cease. Moving forward, our efforts will now become even more vital. It is unclear if there will be a change of Minister responsible for funding, but regardless of who assumes that role, we will continue to illustrate to them how and why Australia needs a thriving interactive games industry, a complete game development ecosystem and why games should be included in any screen industry initiatives. IGEA, through the support of our members, will continue to lead this discussion and advocacy across Federal, State and Territory jurisdictions.
Games funding is an important piece of work we intently focus on and are very public about, but it’s only one of many concerns facing the industry. The election result is going to touch a lot of other areas that may impact us all. Before the election, the government announced they will:
- Undertake a national review of violence and video games
- Introduce an Online Safety Charter
- Tighten safety setting requirements through a Keeping Australians Safety Online policy
- Introduce new privacy rules
- Make no amendments to the controversial Assistance and Access Act and the Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Materials laws
- Introduce various support, investment and tax measures to support small and medium businesses
This is not an insignificant list of issues and they stand to affect many of our members and the wider industry as/if/when they are implemented and executed. These issues are in addition to all the other ongoing priorities we continue to advocate for the interests of members, including classification, immigration, copyright and competition and consumer law. IGEA will continue to work with our members, our Legal and Policy Committee, our Game Development Policy Group and with our government relations advisers to address each of these issue as they arise. As always, our strategy is to make sure that any regulation is balanced, informed and necessary, while industry support programs are designed in a way that supports the video games industry to grow.
In short, as an industry we expect a turbulent time over the coming year and as a members’ association, we will do our best to mitigate risks and protect and promote the industry as best we can. More broadly, will also continue to speak passionately to the community and policymakers about why video games are important to Australia – socially, culturally and economically – and can no longer be ignored.
A light on the horizon is definitely the launch of our Digital Australia reports (due 23 July in Australia and 4 September in NZ) which will again serve to inform and educate policy makers around the facts of who plays games, why they play games, attitudes towards games and ultimately the power of games. We have also committed to undertaking research into the size of the Australian development industry, so we will be looking to your support in completing the confidential surveys. Stay tuned for an update.
IGEA has a lot of work to continue to do, so onwards and hopefully upwards for the games industry.
Ron Curry, Ben Au and Raelene Knowles