IGEA has made a major submission to the Victorian Government’s consultation on Creative State 2020+ including our recommendations for how the state can continue to support and strengthen the vibrant games industry that it cares so much about.
The Victorian Government has sought views from across the state’s cultural and creative sectors to help it shape its next four-year creative industries strategy covering 2020-2024. We are proud to be able to contribute to this consultation on behalf of our wonderful Victorian members, which includes many successful and creative game development studios, our AAA publisher members who are considering opening studios in Australia and our associate member PAX Australia, which is the centrepiece of Melbourne International Games Week.
The first part is a celebration of Victoria’s wonderful games sector and the successes that it has had over the course of the current Creative State 2016-20 strategy. It highlights the rich and tremendous contribution that Victoria’s games sector is making and will continue to make to the state’s cultural, social and economic landscape. However, our paper also draws out the current challenges and risks, including the fact that competition from almost every other developed economy in the world, as well as increasing competition from other states who are recognising games, is limiting growth and leading to a drain of talent and creative energy.
The second part of our submission provides a vision for what Victoria’s games industry can strive towards, based on the many examples of countries and regions around the world with governments that have recognised the value of games and have invested deeply into their games industries. We also provide our support for Victoria’s guiding principles and discussion themes for the consultation, including prioritising Victoria’s First Peoples, focussing on both regional and metropolitan areas, promoting equality and diversity and building links between rapidly converging creative sectors.
Finally, our submission articulates and provides the case for the policies that we consider will be vital for the 2020-2024 period:
- Continuing the existing support mechanisms for the games industry, including the support provided by Creative Victoria and Film Victoria to game developers, and ongoing investment in Melbourne International Games Week. Building an industry takes years and a long term partnership between industry and government is critical.
- Serious consideration of a new expenditure-based incentive such as a percentage rebate, credit or refund similar to the 30 percent offset for the PDV sector. This kind of incentive is the common denominator for how Canada, the UK, the US and countries right across Europe have built multi-billion dollar game development industries with countless individual studios that have more game workers than the whole of Victoria.
- Our paper also outlines some additional or alternative policies that have been successfully implemented in Australia, overseas and in other sectors. These include payroll tax rebates to encourage studio headcount growth, a studio attraction fund to bring in major multi-million dollar investments from overseas and other incentives to incentivise hiring and training.
We hope this is just the start of the conversation and we look forward to engaging further with the Victorian Government as it prepares Creative State 2020+.