Australia has set up a new tax incentive for the digital games industry.
The Digital Games Tax Offset (DGTO) is a 30 per cent refundable tax offset. It will be available to eligible games developers that spend a minimum of A$500,000 on qualifying Australian development expenditure effective from 1 July 2022.
The DGTO portal has more information on eligibility criteria and application guidelines.
Minister for the Arts Tony Burke says the legislation is the first of its kind for the industry.
“This is a game changer for Australia’s digital games industry,” Minister Burke said.
“Australian game developers have a proud history going back decades, and this measure will support them – and the next generation – for years to come.”
‘For Tantalus and for Keywords Australia, the DGTO will turbocharge our growth and expansion,’ says Tantalus CEO Tom Crago. ‘That means more jobs and more video games developed in Australia, for the global market. Australia has an opportunity to be one of the world’s great hubs for game development. We’re ready to play.’
Government backing for the digital games industry
The Australian and state governments are committed to growing the digital games industry. The DGTO can be combined with state-based incentives. That means projects may be eligible for incentives worth up to 40%-45% of development costs.[SC
Other programs provide funding for games with budgets below A$500,000, such as Screen Australia’s Games Expansion Pack.
A centre for the global games development industry
Australia is a fast-growing centre for the global games development industry. The Australian digital games industry supports more than 400 businesses. Over 200,000 software developers live here – 2,000 of whom work in the games industry.
Big names in global gaming have already set up development studios in Australia. They include Sledgehammer Games, Keyword Studios, Electronic Arts, Gameloft and Riot Games.
‘In our 25+ years as a game development studio, Australia has continued to grow its recognition globally as a hotbed for talent in the gaming industry,’ says Naresh Hirani, Head of Studio at Riot Games Sydney. ‘We’re thrilled for what the DGTO will mean for growing, attracting and retaining talent here in Australia.’
Over 74% of Australian studios create their own original intellectual property. Australia has produced global hits like Hollow Knight, Untitled Goose Game, Unpacking and The Forgotten City. Australian game development studios generated A$ 284.4million in income in 2021–22.
Why invest in Australian digital games
Government support and tax offsets make Australia an attractive investment destination for digital games. Australian-made games are grabbing international headlines, winning awards, and rocketing to the top of global sales charts.
Australia also offers a deep pool of tech talent, friendly developer communities, APAC aligned timezone and a great culture of work-life balance.
Austrade’s Level Up: A Guide to the Australian Games Industry report (PDF, 19.0 MB) has more information on the DGTO and investment opportunities in Australia.