01 December, 2022
The legislation implementing the Digital Games Tax Offset was recently tabled in the lower house of Australian Parliament. It is a 30% rebate on the development costs of video games in Australia and specifically states that writers are covered by the definition of eligible costs, including contract workers.
A minimum annual spend of $500,000 is required to access the rebate, making it harder for small and new studios to compete in a sector facing labour shortages. AWG will lobby for more pathways to career and project development, to ensure that smaller studios are appropriately supported and equipped to deliver important stories.
AWG calls for local film and television production companies and holders of larger IPs to consider partnering with local games development studios as platforms like Netflix and Apple look to find synergy between their different content services.
Game development companies with projects over the $500,000 expenditure minimum, however, will have the benefit of stretching their budget further when spent on local development efforts. This will have a direct impact on the careers of Australian game developers, but also the scope and genre of games able to be developed.
Ellen Jurik of Blowfish states, ‘We have seen the international success of AAA (high budget) games with a strong narrative emphasis developed overseas, both as single-player and multiplayer, standalone and live service forms. With the DGTO, larger Australian game development teams have the opportunity to create games that can sit at the table, tell ambitious stories, and engage with a broad audience. This directly relates to a need for more storytellers to be integrated into development, and means more opportunities for Australian-based Staff Writers and Narrative Designers within these companies. Savvy employers will be seeking not only experienced and entry level game writers, but also writers with experience in other media who are gamers and are interested in making the transition.’