Australian-made games are rocketing up global sales charts. Our indie developers are partnering with global publishers. And our studios are attracting multimillion-dollar investment. This is all due to one great asset: our creativity.
Our tech-savvy games studios are led by bright, multicultural and friendly entrepreneurs. It’s in our DNA to have a go, even if it seems like we’re taking on the impossible. This means we create games no-one else can.
We like to think we punch above our weight in global trade and innovation – and this includes the digital games industry. Consider our natural advantages:
- Government support, with tax offsets worth up to 45% of development costs
- Deep pools of tech talent, which mean we solve technical problems in unique ways
- An Asia-Pacific time zone that supports 24-hour games development cycles
- Business and cultural links to Asia, which makes us a springboard for regional operations
- A reliable legal system that protects intellectual property and makes us trusted partners
- ….. and that great Australia lifestyle, which helps studios attract global talent.
Unlock the infinite opportunities in the Australian digital games industry where you can find your team and score with access to:
- a vast talent pool
- a growing ecosystem of studios and centres of creative excellence
- a refundable Commonwealth Government tax offset of 30% for games development of more than $A500,000 from 1 July 2022
- additional state-based rebates of 10–15%
- strong intellectual property protection, giving you and your investors confidence in return on investment.
‘Australia is a great place to make video games’
– Andy Wilson, Chief Operating Officer, Sledgehammer Games
‘I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the greatest studios all over the world. The level of talent and, perhaps even more important, imagination that I’ve seen amongst the video game community in Australia is wholly unique. It’s partly what drew me to work with Summerfall Studios. I want to partner with those collaborators who choose to view as opportunity what others call impossible.’
– Troy Baker, actor/director
Australian-made games are grabbing headlines, rocketing to the top of global sales charts and winning major industry awards. We’re a powerful magnet for renowned global games companies, attracting industry heavyweights like Sledgehammer Games, Keyword Studios, Electronic Arts, Wargaming and Gameloft. And our new 30% Digital Games Tax Offset is driving multinational studios and investors to ramp up their existing activity or plan a new studio base here.
Most Australian games companies are independent studios creating original IP. Studios enjoy strong global demand and a steady pipeline of work on licensed properties, multi-studio collaborations, and ‘work for hire’ projects.
In 2021, one in every ten games on Apple’s new Arcade video game platform was made in either Australia or New Zealand.
Australian games development studios are perfectly placed to support a 24-hour continuous development cycle. We keep development going while North America and Europe sleep.
The breakout hit of 2021 was Unpacking, the irresistible and surprisingly moving puzzle game from Brisbane-based indie developer Witch Beam. After selling 100,000 copies in its first 10 days alone, the game went on to win Game of Year in the Australian Game Developer Awards, appear on numerous ‘best games of 2021 lists’, and be named Game of the Year by Eurogamer.
Australia is your ideal test market. Australians are passionate gamers and there’s a buzzing domestic market, with more than two-thirds of our population playing games. Australians are the world’s wealthiest people, the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2021 finds, and according to PWC, Australians are one of the highest per capita spenders on video games in the world. We’re tipped to spend almost A$5 billion a year by 2025.
Australian studios win awards. Most recently Modern Storyteller and Witch Beam were nominated for the EE Game of the Year Award at the 2022 BAFTA Games Award for The Forgotten City and Unpacking.
Australia is a magnet for capital. Merger and acquisition activity is increasing. Blowfish Studios, Grease Monkey Games, Tantalus and Big Ant have joined international companies. Several studios have raised capital for expansion, including PlaySide Studios and Mighty Kingdom, which have listed on the ASX. Melbourne-based firm Zero Latency raised A$7 million in a pre-IPO funding round to expand its VR games portfolio, modding platform mod.io raised A$26 million in a round of Series A funding, and gaming and digital asset technology business Immutable has raised a total of A$280 million through a series of funding rounds, and now has a valuation of A$3.5 billion.
"Never have I seen a community of young developers not only incredibly interested in supporting each other, but truly eager to be a part of a rapidly growing industry. Their vibrancy and dedication is a big part of why it's so exciting to be in Australian game dev right now." – David Gaider, Creative Director, Summerfall Studios
Australian game development studios in 2020–21
● increased revenue 23%
● 74% developing their own IP
● 89% stable or increased revenue
Outstanding local games talent
Our success in digital games is driven by a highly educated and experienced workforce that offers the perfect blend of tech, creative and commercial skills. We’re home to thousands of digital games professionals, graduates and a pipeline of future talent.
This English-speaking workforce is multicultural, multilingual and globally connected, and our digital game developers are recognised worldwide for their talent, innovation and work ethic.
‘The Australian game development community is vibrant, creative, passionate and talented. We are making great games for players all over the world.’
–Ty Carey, Co-Founder, League of Geeks.
Our renowned education and training system nurtures local talent – from developers, producers and engineers to designers and other creatives.
There are more than 3,000 skilled games graduates each year. Specialised games development tertiary institutions teach programming, digital art, 3D modelling, animation and audio engineering, while many of our top-ranking universities also offer creative arts and technology courses with a digital games focus.
Studios can also draw from the hundreds of highly experienced and accomplished expatriate game developers currently working overseas who are increasingly choosing to return home.
‘We have managed to find an incredible number of skilled engineers very quickly in Australia. For our industry, this is not very common. There’s also a lot of movie industry talent so we’re seeing success with some disciplines such as visual effects, where there’s often a transferable skill set.’
– Andy Wilson, Chief Operating Officer, Sledgehammer Games
Australian-made games include:
- Crossy Road by Hipster Whale
- Flight Control by EA Firemonkeys
- Forgotten City by Modern Storyteller
- Framed by Loveshack Entertainment
- Fruit Ninja by Halfbrick
- Hollow Knight by Team Cherry
- Moving Out by SMG
- The Artful Escape by Beethoven and Dinosaur
- The Gardens Between by The Voxel Agents
- Torque Drift by Grease Monkey Games
- Unpacking by Witch Beam
- Untitled Goose Game by House House
- Warhammer by Black Lab Games
Australia has strong capability in a host of complementary fields. Locals working in world-leading animation and VFX industries help deepen our rich talent pool of animators and graphics engineers and other industries which employ gamification.
Both private companies and government agencies are creating and applying games-related technologies. Award-winning Australian AR/VR includes Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail 3D visualisation technology. And at the CSIRO’s Data61, researchers are using AI and gamification to diagnose potential mental health disorders.
Australia’s highly successful tech industry is growing at pace. New research by Accenture and the TechCouncil shows the tech sector generated A$167 billion for our economy in 2020– 21, equivalent to 8.5% of GDP. That makes technology the third largest contributor for the year behind mining and finance. And the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Australia as equal-first for the most attractive place for tech companies to invest.
Connected and collaborative games industry
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association provides practical support and networking opportunities for the local industry, including through the Australian Game Developer Awards and the flagship Games Connect Asia Pacific professional conference in Melbourne.
‘The Australian digital game development scene is in a league of its own. It's a wildly talented, intensely supportive, and admirably collaborative industry that's consistently making games that garner international acclaim and attention.'
– Alanah Pearce, Writer/Producer & Charity Streamer
In Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra, the collaborative Game Plus workspaces bring together game developers and related tech startups, while in Brisbane, Screen Queensland operates the SQhub co-working space for screen creatives including game developers.
Melbourne International Games Week is the largest digital games celebration in the Asia Pacific. Featuring conferences, events and activities for the games industry, games enthusiasts, general public and educators, this event is not to be missed. Melbourne is also home to the world-renowned ultimate gaming expo Penny Arcade Expo (PAX). PAX Australia is the largest digital games consumer event in the Southern Hemisphere and the only PAX event held outside of the United States.
’We are enjoying being part of Australia’s vibrant video games scene.’
– Margarita Torres and Juan Pablo Reyes, from Colombia, now based in Melbourne
Reimagining the creator economy
Australia is embracing blockchain technology as part of the next evolution in digital games and the creator economy. Our digital game sector is already moving to embrace key positive features of blockchain technology in digital games including:
- ownership and tradability of in-game assets
- improved player experience thanks to better strategies in RPGs and stronger social experiences,
- better economic incentive alignments within the game ecosystem
- positive disruption to the existing revenue, distribution and publishing model along with the potential of a decentralised ownership and development structure.
Australia leads by example, with Blowfish Studios, Guild of Guardians, SolChicks and Iluvium just some of the exciting new additions to our capability in developing blockchain-based games. Supporting the ecosystem are Immutable X Studios and Mycellium Ventures, each with their own blockchain projects such as Perpetual Punk Tokens – pushing the frontiers of financial services, the digital and creator economies.
Grants, incentives and support
Australia is giving the digital games industry a huge boost with the introduction of the Digital Games Tax Offset – a 30% refundable tax offset for eligible digital games expenditure (including live operations) over A$500,000 after 1 July 2022.
For independent Australian studios with development budgets below A$500,000, Screen Australia’s Games: Expansion Pack initiative will provide grants of up to A$150,000 to eligible companies.
These can be combined with state and territory government grants and incentives, such as:
- New South Wales’ 10% Digital Games Rebate for qualifying expenditure of at least A$500,000 in the state and Early Development and Advanced Development grants of up to A$50,000
- Queensland’s 15% Digital Games Incentive, now available to game developers spending at least A$250,000 in the state
- the South Australian Rebate for Games, offering a10% rebate of eligible expenditure over A$250,000
- the Victorian Screen Incentive, offering grants of up to 10% of qualifying expenditure of at least A$500,000, as well as other games funding for new and established studios of between A$30,000 and A$300,000.
And for fundamental technological advances, Australian enterprises can also access the generous R&D tax incentive.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, the industry’s peak body, publishes a guide to the full suite of attractive business and investment support programs on offer in Australia.