The South Australian government has launched a $2 million fund to help build a games development hub in Adelaide, which will be operated by national network Game Plus, which also runs a games hub in Canberra.
With a $450,000 fit out, the hub will comprise three offices and 29 hot desks for games development companies, with South Australia-based Mighty Kingdom announced as a tenant.
Another $1.3 million from the fund will help in the production and marketing of locally-made games, while $200,000 will go towards industry-specific skills development and education programs.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the hub, which the government expects will create 500 jobs in three years, will position the state as a national leader in the gaming industry.
Phil Mayes, founder and director of Mighty Kingdom, said the announcement is a “game changer” for the industry in South Australia.
“This game development hub in Adelaide will serve as a focal point for local industry collaboration and investment, creating even more jobs,” he said.
“With their support for Game Plus, the state government has understood our need to grow our industry and take on even bigger projects, catapulting more South Australian businesses into the $90 billion dollar game market.”
Support for the gaming industry from the South Australian Government comes after the Federal Government in 2014 cut its Interactive Games Fund.
A Senate Inquiry was then in 2015 held to investigate the future of Australia’s game development industry, and while the inquiry delivered its findings in April of 2016 with bipartisan support and put a number of recommendations forward to help support the growth of the industry, no federal action has been taken to date.
Meanwhile, a survey from the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) and Games Development Association of Australia, which polled Australia’s local developers in 2016, found that the sector employed approximately 842 people through the 2015-2016 financial year.
The survey also found the sector generated $114.9 million total revenue in this period, leading 78 percent of respondents to project growth for the 2016-2017 financial year, with nearly two-thirds planning to add extra staff.
Another report from the IGEA, released in conjunction with Bond University in July, found Australia’s gaming industry grew at a 9.6 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2013 and 2016 as it expanded into other sectors and the sale of digital games increased.
With this, Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), said at the time that the government must recognise games development as a “legitimate industry”.
“We know most Australians play. We know the opportunities that games present, both for Australians and the economy. It’s time that the government recognise and treat the Australian video games sector as a legitimate industry,” he said.
Much of the growth in the industry has come from Victoria, where the state government’s Film Victoria has provided support to developers.
The body earlier this month announced a $140,000 Women in Games grants program, with seven games studios to receive grants to assist in the hiring and training women in games development, looking at skills including programming, animation, game design, and marketing.
Canberra has also seen growth thanks to its Games Plus hub, which cofounder and COO Amit Oberoi said has provided more than $420,000 in contract work to developers.
“This is something we anticipate exceeding in the larger Adelaide Game Plus.”
Image: Jay Weatherill. Source: sbs.com.au