Representatives from the Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) have called upon the Australian federal government to give the industry the same 40 percent tax rebate which it currently grants to the film industry.
GDAA president Tom Crago and CEO Greg Bondar have described the Australian games industry as suffering “a serious fiscal inequity and imbalance” compared to the film and special effects industry.
They have called for the Australian government to recognize the economic contribution of the games industry, which generates domestic sales of over $400 million, export growth of over $100 million and employs over 2,000 young Australians (the average of game developers is put at twenty-eight).
The GDAA further estimates that there are currently 8,500 people directly employed in the video game industry in Australia (2,000 in development, 1,500 in publishing and distribution and 5,000 in retail and sales). If the 40 percent tax rebate was extended to the games industry, the GDAA estimate that development employees could triple to 6,000 within three years and reach 18,000 by 2010.
According to other GDAA data acquired from market research group GFK, total sales of video game products in Australia totaled $1 billion in 2006, with 12.5 million games sold and 6.1 million game consoles sold since 2000. Australians are estimated to spend over AU$2 million (US$1.7 million) on video gamers per day.
3.6 million households in Australia are estimated to own a video games console, out of a population of around 21 million. According to data from ABS, 4.8 million households also have an Internet enabled PC capable of playing games. The average age of Australian gamers is twenty-eight years with 60 percent being male, while 35 percent are parents and 8 percent are seniors.
“The federal government could do much to learn from the Canadian government which has created over 10,000 jobs in video game development over the last four years through the right financial incentives,” said Crago and Bondar.
The GDAA will formally call upon the Australian government to extend the tax rebate to the games industry at the Game Connect: Asia Pacific 2007 conference and expo
, to be held in Melbourne on November 15th to 17th this year.