Australian game developers celebrate introduction of DGTO bill into Parliament
23 November, 2022 – Alongside the Australian video games industry, IGEA is celebrating today’s introduction of the Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 4) Bill 2022 into Parliament, which when passed will implement the Digital Games Tax Offset (DGTO).
The sector has been eagerly awaiting the details of the DGTO, which have been released today following the introduction of this bill by the Albanese Government in the House of Representatives. Pending the bill’s passage through both Houses of Parliament, local video game businesses and creators can now confidently scale up their studios and projects to deliver more quality Australian content to a global audience. At the same time, Australia will shine brightly in the global video games industry as the next big destination for business and investment.
The DGTO is the first federal policy of its kind and one of the best game development incentives anywhere in the world. It will deliver a 30% tax incentive to Australian video game developers with projects above $500,000, with eligible expenditure incurred from 1 July 2022 able to be claimed. It signals a commitment to the local games development industry and recognises game creation as an important part of our screen and cultural sector. Australian studios have already witnessed an impact on their businesses since Screen Australia launched its first funding program for video games in eight years earlier this year through the Games: Expansion Pack program. The DGTO will complement this fund and help to make Australia among the best places in the world to make video games.
Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA, commented, “We sincerely thank the Treasurer, the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP and the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Stephen Jones MP for introducing the legislation as well as the Arts Minister, the Hon Tony Burke MP, for advocating for support for Australian game developers in both of his innings as Arts Minister and the time in between as the Shadow Arts Minister. We would also like to thank the Minister for Trade, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, for his recognition of our sector’s enormous trade and investment potential and finally the Communications Minister, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, for being our industry’s champion over many years.
“By backing and introducing the legislation into Parliament, the Albanese Government has provided certainty and growth opportunities for our highly creative and technically skilled industry. The Australian game development sector has embraced this opportunity. The job creation, revenue growth and international investment in game development will further cement and enhance Australia’s reputation for delivering quality content internationally. In particular, it will create a new generation of creative 21st century Aussie tech workers.
“Noting that the DGTO represents bipartisan policy, we look forward to a swift passage of the bill through Parliament. In addition to our gratitude to the Albanese Government, we also thank the Opposition, and particularly the current shadow and former Arts Minister Paul Fletcher MP, for proposing the DGTO last year and continuing to support it.
“The Office for the Arts and the Treasury have run a very effective consultation with industry and we expect the dialogue and education to continue as the DGTO rolls out. The DGTO, coupled with the many state government digital games funds and rebates, means that Australia has some of the most aggressive video game industry incentives available globally. We expect to see many multinational companies expand their operations to Australia and contribute to a thriving and sustainable game development ecosystem.”
The reactions from the Australian games sector have been as follows:
Benjamin Lee, Founder and Managing Director, Blowfish Studios
“The DGTO is a huge milestone for the Australian game development industry and if utilised to its fullest will enable Blowfish to create more jobs around the country as we continue to build the world’s best blockchain games. Phantom Galaxies continues to attract overseas investment as it paves the way for the genre, plus we have multiple home-grown IPs in development now which will all benefit from the DGTO.”
Casey Thomas, Founder | Managing Director, Dark Shadow Studio
“Since the announcement of the DGTO, my studio and I are in high spirits and are able to plan and budget for not only the exponential growth of new staff members within our studio but look at projecting into international exportations – since my recent trip to India to speak at IGDC, it has opened so many new opportunities that until experienced, we would never really have considered.
With these new announcements, it means we can also continue to build stronger relationships internationally, showcase the amazing talent here in Australia, and share resources around the world. We are very excited by this announcement and the next 1-2 years on how this will shape and change the games industry here in Australia; it’s looking brighter than ever!”
“Electronic Arts applauds this important development by the Australian Parliament to pass the Digital Games Tax Offset, which will be a vital step in helping the Government stimulate video game development in Australia.”
Dylan Miklashek, Studio Manager, Gameloft Brisbane
“Gameloft Brisbane is incredibly excited with the announcement of the Digital Games Tax Offset OFFICIAL legislation. With the Federal Government’s DGTO now officially and fully in place, Gameloft and all other game development in Australia can now confidently and rapidly move forward with their future growth plans and opportunities. It’s Game On in Australia people!!!”
Tom Crago, CEO, Tantalus
“For Tantalus and for Keywords Australia, the DGTO with turbocharge our growth and expansion. That means more jobs and more videogames developed in Australia, for the global market. Australia has an opportunity to be one of the world’s great hubs for game development. We’re ready to play.”
Blake Mizzi, Director and Co-Founder, League of Geeks
“Games studios are remarkable places where creativity, imagination and cutting-edge technology swirl together into complex experiences every day. These hot houses for talent are also perfect places to breed skills for jobs we don’t even know about today. The DGTO will help us expand Australian studios, hire more staff and cultivate more digital brain power for years to come with flow on effects beyond the sector.”
TJ Munusamy, Executive Vice President Business Development, PlaySide Studios
“PlaySide Studios welcomes the DGTO with open arms. This is a much needed Government initiative that the Australian industry has been yearning for in some capacity, for more than a decade. As the barrier to entry into video game development increases and the cutting-edge technologies required to remain competitive become more expensive to adopt; the grant will help ease pressures faced by many of our local game development studios.
For PlaySide in particular, the initiative will allow our company to remain competitive on a global scale and help the business attract much needed talent for our next wave of flagship projects. The grant will also lower the barrier to entry on any new studio locations as well as assist us in preparing strategies for future technologies by virtue of ensuring we have the right talent. PlaySide has gone through mass transformation in recent years and the federal DGTO initiative will further bolster the company’s upward trajectory as it reaches new heights.
PlaySide Studios is excited to see the DGTO in full effect and its benefits realised to the Australian video game industry!”
Naresh Hirani, Head of Studio, Riot Sydney
“In our 25+ years as a game development studio, Australia has continued to grow its recognition globally as a hotbed for talent in the gaming industry. During that time, the Australian Government’s support has been instrumental in navigating the challenges our industry has faced, and now this tax offset scheme is a clear signal that Australia’s importance to game dev is here to stay. As one of the largest AAA studios in Australia, we’ve seen first hand the challenges in retaining world class development talent and we’re thrilled for what the Digital Games Tax Offset will mean for growing, attracting, and retaining that talent here in Australia.“
Matt Schenkel, Co-Founder, Sub-Zero Sound
“Despite a $500k barrier to entry, I think independent developers and development-adjacent creative businesses that don’t reach that number will still benefit.
With my game audio studio, Sub-Zero Sound, I’m always looking for promising studios and developers to work with. I anticipate that our network of clients will get larger and more diverse thanks to this tax offset. I believe that with this new incentive, game creators will be able to more easily justify working with third-party companies such as mine and invest in what have traditionally been “luxury” features such as custom sound design and music.
I think that this will also result in more pathways for game graduates out of university. Currently, there are few options for early-career games practitioners to jump into entry-level roles or paid internships in Australia. I only see these sorts of roles (as well as mid-senior roles), becoming more common over the next few years as the scale of our industry increases.”
Joey Egger, Managing Director, Two Moos/DEPT®
“The Digital Games Tax Offset (DGTO) will significantly impact our ability to bring new work streams and grow Two Moos/DEPT®’s specialist family-focused games team. We’re beyond thrilled about the opportunity that the DGTO brings us and the Australian Games industry as a whole. Please expect an outpouring of creativity, excellence, innovation and delightful surprises in years to come – it’s all there, it just needs to surface and the DGTO will help in doing exactly that.”
Evan Davey, Founding Partner, Two Bulls/DEPT®
“The DGTO has already proven its intention to promote the growth of Australia’s digital games development industry. As a game industry business, Two Bulls/DEPT® has been able to utilise the possibility of a substantial tax offset as an incentive to attract big-scale, overseas clients into Australia. One example is an international 8-figure contract for our family division Two Moos.”
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IGEA (Interactive Games & Entertainment Association) is the peak industry association representing the voice of Australian and New Zealand companies in the computer and video games industry. IGEA supports the games industry’s business and public policy interests through advocacy, research and education programs. For more information, please visit www.igea.net