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The rise of Melbourne as the new digital games capital and what it means for game developers and companies in India


In late 2019, a game about a horrible goose by independent studio Melbourne House House became a huge global sensation and won a series of major international awards, including Game of the Year 2019 at the prestigious Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences DICE Awards. and the BAFTA Award 2020 for best family game. A few months later, when local game developer SMG launched their fast-paced sofa co-op, To relocate, Melbourne had indeed captured the attention of game developers and gamers around the world.

Untitled Goose Game and To relocate showcasing the talent and potential of the digital games industry – one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries – in the city of Melbourne, Victoria. In 2020, it was estimated that there were 2.8 billion players globally, and growth has accelerated further with the COVID-19 pandemic and socialization restrictions.

A new study from PwC reports that the games industry in Australia has seen a jump from $ 3.2 billion in revenue in 2019 to $ 3.4 billion in 2020. Victoria is at the center of this action, which is home to 40% Australian digital game studios and 52% of full studios. employed on time, according to a 2020 survey by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), the leading association for the digital games industry in Australia and New Zealand.

“The government of Victoria has invested heavily in the digital games industry over the past 25 years, more than any other state in Australia,” says Joe Brinkmann, Director – Production Attraction & Support at Film Victoria, the government agency state that provides strategic leadership. and support for Victoria’s film, television and digital media sectors.

“Thanks to targeted government investments in screen production, travel incentives and subsidies, supportive regulations and the steady growth of the game development workforce, Melbourne has emerged as the digital game capital of Canada. Australia and a leading global gaming destination, ”said Joe.

Victoria: a confluence of talent, infrastructure and opportunities for games

Over the past 25 years, Victorian Studios have developed original, high-caliber, internationally successful intellectual property, including Route of the Cross by Hipster Whale, Florence by Mountains and titles supported by Film Victoria Flight control by EA Firemonkeys and The gardens between by The Voxel Agents, in addition to Untitled Goose Game and To relocate.

Joe says the digital game ecosystem in Victoria is strong as it has large, medium and small game development companies working alongside independent studios and solo developers. In Victoria, each year, more than 1,000 people complete their education in 29 game-related courses, including programming, animation, multimedia design and digital art, helping to drive the industry’s growth. In addition, the state is home to service and middleware providers for game development studios that also serve the entertainment, education, e-health and simulation industries.

As local studios build and grow their teams, international game companies are increasingly looking to Melbourne. In 2019, the American powerhouse Sledgehammer Games, best known for its work on the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, has established its Asia-Pacific outpost in Melbourne, and Canadian games industry legend David Gaider and Victorian Liam Esler have chosen Melbourne as the headquarters of their new company, Summerfall Studios. In 2020, the Colombian studio Cocodrilo Dog, whose games are used by hundreds of schools as tools for learning music and the studio behind Moana: rhythmic race, the official video game of the Disney movie Moana, has moved to its new headquarters in Melbourne.

Melbourne is home to The Arcade, Australia’s only nonprofit collaborative workspace specifically designed for the digital game industry that was conceptualized by the Victorian government to support game developers.

“In 2013, The Arcade started with two game companies and there are now 24, including leading development agencies specializing in video games and e-sports, such as League of Geeks, Summerfall Studios and Samurai Punk. . But it’s the range of experience levels in the hub – from independent startups to award-winning developers and seasoned industry veterans – that makes The Arcade a hive of creativity and collaboration and an envied role model, ”says Joe. .

Melbourne’s importance as an epicenter of game development and culture is also reflected in the hosting of Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW), the largest celebration of digital games in Asia-Pacific. MIGW includes Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP), Australia’s premier conference for game developers, and PAX, the largest consumer digital game event in the Southern Hemisphere and the only PAX event outside of the United States. The city is also home to Freeplay, the world’s oldest indie game festival.

Investing in Victoria’s Digital Games Sector to Drive Growth

Joe reiterates that the Victorian government is looking to grow the gaming industry over the next four years, as evidenced by its record $ 191.5 million investment in the screen industry and the inclusion of an incentive to the attraction of production for digital games in the Victorian Screen Incentive (VSI). “Through VSI, Film Victoria is offering competitive grants of up to 10% of eligible expenses for projects to be produced in Victoria with the support of local developers,” said Joe.

Additionally, in May 2021, the Australian government introduced a 30% tax compensation for local and international companies that develop digital games in the country. Available from July 1, 2022, the Digital Games Tax Offset will further encourage international developers to set up a games studio in Australia.

India, cricket and Chai

The market opportunity and the growth of the global digital games industry has also opened up opportunities for collaboration and growth. For Indian game developers and studios, Victoria offers access to business partnerships, world-class infrastructure, and complementary expertise and talent, all of which are essential to success. The prospect of taking advantage of subsidies, incentives and infrastructure support is an added benefit. “The partnership with India opens up the possibility of investing in shared intellectual property and distribution relationships with international companies, which helps catalyze growth,” shares Joe.

Joe emphasizes the opportunity to tap into gaming networks across the two countries through sport. “Cricket is a huge sport in India and Australia. Our studios have a long history of sports game development, with Big Ant Studios, founded in Melbourne, the official owner of Ashes games. With a passionate fan base and the ability to directly serve leagues or local players, there is a lot of business that digital games can open up, particularly in cricket, ”he says, adding that the Victorian government is seeking to facilitate introductions to the local game. developers, game companies, talents and projects for Indian game developers, students or businesses wishing to explore opportunities in the state games economy.

On a lighter note, he says, “Melbourne is famous for its coffee. But the quality of the cellar we offer has also steadily improved. Indian game developers and companies can truly feel at home in Melbourne.

For more information visit https://www.film.vic.gov.au. Alternatively, you can also connect with Sri Kasthuri, Director – Investments, Victorian Government Trade and Investments – South Asia, at [email protected]

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