South Australia seeks to lure video game developers

State government funds new co-working space

South Australia’s government has revealed it will fund the creation of a digital games development hub in the state’s capital.

The hub, operated by Game Plus which runs an ACT co-working space, is expected to create up to 500 new jobs, the government said.

A Game Plus co-working space in Canberra has “provided more than $420,000 in contract work to developers”, according to co-founder and COO Amit Oberoi.

The SA government has outlined a $2 million fund to boost the games industry, $450,000 of which will be used to fit out the new hub.

In addition, $1.3 million will go towards aiding the production and marketing of games, while $200,000 will be used for education and skills development.

The Game Plus Hub, located in Adelaide’s Pirie Street, will comprise three offices and 29 hot-desks.

“This new Game Plus Hub is set to create around 500 jobs in three years, while positioning SA as a national leader in the rapidly growing gaming industry,” South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement.

“By establishing the games hub here in the city, we’re sending a clear message to this multi-billion dollar global industry that we are open for business,” said employment minister Kyam Maher.

“Companies like Game Plus and Mighty Kingdom have huge projects on the go with major companies including LEGO.”

South Australian developer Mighty Kingdom said it will be based out of the new space.

According to the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, Australian video and computer games sales generated almost $3 billion in revenue in 2016, which represented a 4 per cent increase on the prior year.

However, the IGEA said earlier this year in a submission (PDF) to the federal government’s Australian and Children's Screen Content Review that although local sales of games were growing, the game development sector has undergone significant contraction in recent years.

“Australia’s games development industry sits in contrast to the overall growth of the Australian games industry more broadly and the increasing engagement by Australians with interactive games,” the IGEA said.

“The local sector starkly differs with countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, where significantly more government support is provided towards games development.”