May 1, 2024

Game Developers Rejoice! WA Government Announces New 10-Year Screen Industry Strategy

New development funding, a commitment to full-time games employment, and the promise of a games hub in the state? Exciting!

Last week through its department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, the Western Australian government announced the "Western Australian Screen Industry Strategy." What does this mean for games? Let's dig into it.

More Screenwest Digital Games Funding

That's right. Exactly what many devs were waiting to hear, the government announced another $2 million for the sector across the next two years. This mirrors their recent program which ran on the same budget from 2022 to 2023 (and a little of '24). Here's what Screenwest's Digital Games Manager, Mark Smith had to say about the announcement:

"I'm super excited to fund more games and game studios in Western Australia. More official announcements will come once we've solidified our existing plans for the funds."

Although Mark and Screenwest can't share official details at the moment, previously their funding has run on a model of separate pre-production ($40k), production ($100k) and live-ops ($30k) stages as well as a business development grant ($50k) and various event-based travel grants (which range from $1-5k depending on destination).

Official diagram of how the Games and Interactive Fund fits into the wider Screen Industry Strategy. Credit: Western Australian Government

Commitment to Growing Full-Time Jobs In the Sector

The Screen Industry Strategy Guide also lays out that one of the main goals of the government over the next ten years will be

"growing the number of full-time WA games development employees to better reflect our proportion of thenational population by 2034."

This is another positive development, and reflects the WA Games Industry Council's suggestion in our submission to the government's "Inquiry into innovation in Western Australia"

Credit: Western Australian Government
WAGIC's observations in our submission to the Inquiry into innovation in Western Australia

Development of a Games and Interactive Technologies Hub

Another exciting announcement from the Screen Industry Strategy was the "Long Term" goal of the "Development of a Games and Interactive Technologies Hub." This would likely take the form of a large co-working space for developers, and echoes the Screen Industry Strategy's continued commitment to a "Development of a major Screen Production Facility" for Film and TV projects.

Credit: Western Australian Government

This development parallels the efforts of "Game Plus," an Australian chain of games co-working spaces in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide. Last year, Game Plus was at a WA Games Week "Town Hall' to investigate the possibility of opening up a space in Perth.

Experience Adelaide | Game Plus
Credit: Game Plus

What Can We Expect?

While it's difficult to understand what exact form the Games Hub will take, and difficult to see the tangible impact of more jobs in the sector immediately, it's likely that in the next few months we'll have another round of Digital Games Funding to look forward to. WAGIC will be working closely with ministers and government agencies in consultation to make sure that the needs of WA developers are understood and prioritised. Any way you slice it, the future is looking bright for games in WA.

If you want to read the full Screen Industry Strategy Guide, you can find it here alongside the government's official press release.