Promoting a safe and responsible industry
A modern classification scheme for video games
We recognise the vital role that Australia and New Zealand’s classification schemes play to help game players and parents make informed choices about what to play. Our industry supports these schemes through strict compliance and dialogue with regulators. However, as these classification laws and policies were design in a pre-digital age, we encourage reforms to modernise how games are classified, including the expanded use of classification tools and a greater role for industry.
Supporting and promoting online safety in video games
Our industry has a track record of making games that are played in a fun and safe way. Game companies offer a range of controls and settings that empower players and give parents the ability to control what games their children play, when and how they play games, and whether they communicate with others. We support sensible and appropriate online safety laws and collaboration with Australia’s eSafety Commissioner and New Zealand’s Netsafe on community awareness-raising.
Constructive engagement on digital health issues
We engage positively in policy and academic dialogue around screen time and digital health. We believe that video games should be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. Of the two-thirds of Australian and New Zealanders who play video games, the overwhelming majority do so in a healthy and responsible way. To support this goal, our industry has a longstanding history of providing tools that allow game players and their parents to monitor and manage screen time more effectively.
Continuing to fight the stigma around violence
During the 1990s, video games were stigmatised by some politicians and parts of the media as a cause for real-world violence. Unfortunately, this still happens even today. The overwhelming scientific consensus over decades of research is that there is no link between games and real-world violence or aggression. Regardless, we continue to support the role of the Australian and New Zealand classification schemes so that children are not exposed to non-age-appropriate content.
Demystifying in-game spending and loot boxes
Video games use diverse and innovative revenue models to meet the different preferences and budgets of players. Some games, including many successful Australian games, use in-game spending. All gaming platforms provide controls for players and parents to manage in-game spending. Loot boxes (digital items that give out other items based on chance) were reviewed by an Australian Senate Committee in 2018 that found that they were adequately regulated. Regardless, our industry continues to listen and implement new measures to increase the transparency of loot boxes.
Fighting for support for game development
Building recognition of our high potential industry
Few Australian industries have the potential to create IP with long term value, bring up a generation of futureproofed technology workers, access billions of global consumers, and attract high foreign investment – while also adding to the wealth of Australian culture. In fact, we believe video game development is the only one. Despite this, our game development sector and the opportunities that can be reaped if it is supported still lacks the governmental and wider industry recognition it deserves. We are fighting to change the perception of game development and raise awareness of its potential.
Advocating for grants and tax incentives for game development
Despite being part of the screen industry, our sector is excluded from the half a billion dollars of support the Australian Government provides to film and TV annually. To transform and elevate our industry, we are fighting for common-sense policies like making games eligible for Screen Australia funding and a 30 per cent tax offset, like the PDV offset for Australia’s VFX industry. These are proven policies that have been implemented in the US, Canada, UK, Singapore and across the EU. We also lobby for continued and strengthened state and territory support for game developers.
Building a skilled workforce for our industry and Australia
Video game workers are highly trained technology-based creatives with transferable skills: exactly the kind of worker that not only our industry but future Australia needs. We support policies that promote STEM in schools and enable tertiary institutions with games course to provide the best possible education. Further, we support migration policies that enable our industry to fill skills gaps and, most importantly, bring in the experienced managers we need to train up our next generation.
Enhancing opportunities in digital trade and exports
Video games are the perfect export for Australia: weightless, high-tech, green and IP-based. We support export policies that strengthen the opportunities for Australian game developers to grow their existing export markets and to create new ones. We also advocate for international trade agreements and arrangements that encourage foreign investment, promote the open trade of digital goods and services, support the free flow of data and take practical approaches to IP and privacy.
Creating opportunities for serious games in government
Video games are no longer just being used for enjoyment and entertainment. Serious games and gamified technologies are finding diverse uses in education, health, policing, defence and social services, as well as in the corporate and community sectors. While the serious games sector remains a small part of our industry, many Australian developers have significant experience, and we remind governments about how games can be used innovatively to deliver policies, programs and projects.
Driving continued industry growth and innovation
Constructive and consultative approach to intellectual property
Video games constitute some of the most renowned, innovative, valuable and complex IP in the world. Australian gaming IP helps to bring in export revenue that can last years. At the same time, games remain vulnerable to copyright infringement and IP theft. Noting the breadth of issues and diversity of views across the creative sector on IP policy, particularly copyright, where there is a need for reform, we support an approach that is considered, constructive and consultative.
Supporting a strong, accessible and neutral internet
One of the most important pieces of infrastructure to support a futureproofed economy and connected society is strong and reliable internet, both fixed and wireless. Specifically, we support continued investment in Australia’s NBN and wireless networks and a competitive market of internet service providers to ensure that internet is accessible and affordable for all. It is also essential that wholesale and retail service providers should not and cannot discriminate against gaming content.
Practical and common-sense competition and consumer policy
The video games sector is an ecosystem of many consoles, platforms, storefronts, publishers and developers all operating under significant competitive tension. There is fierce competition for players, as evidenced by game prices remaining steady over the decades, even as inflation and development costs balloon. Video game companies are committed to building trust, loyalty and consumer satisfaction, with gamers having greater choice than ever. We advocate for competition and consumer laws that are modern, practical, sensible and compatible with the digital economy.
Advocating for a fair tax system that encourages innovation
Our industry, like all sectors, should rightly pay its fair share of taxes. In addition to corporate income and other taxes, GST in both Australia and New Zealand is collected on digital sales including micro-transactions, unlike in many other countries. Australia’s export-focused game developers have also brought in significant tax receipts and possibly the highest of all Australian creatives. We advocate for tax policies that support SMEs and incentives that drive innovation (like the R&D tax offset). Dialogue around tax reform and digital industries should be based on seeking global consensus.
Developing a vibrant and innovative esports scene
Australia and New Zealand have developed burgeoning esports scenes that are rapidly growing and attracting significant investment from traditional sports. To support this growth sustainably and responsibly, we seek to ensure that esports is enjoyed fairly, safely and positively. We encourage federal, state and local government attention on esports as contemporary levers for boosting tourism activity and infrastructure investment as well as opportunities for youth engagement and community cohesion, such as through school-based and grassroots esports programs.