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Friday, 17 June 2011 09:52

Aussie game developers win tax breaks

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A hard fought campaign to win government taxation breaks has finally been won by lobbyists for the Australian interactive entertainment industry. 


Much larger in dollar terms, but less prominent than the Australian film industry, campaigners have been attempting to get similar tax incentives or breaks for the interactive entertainment development industry in this country.

Yesterday, a breakthrough with the announcement of crossbench support for the AU$1.8 billion R&D Tax Bill.

Antony Reed, Chief Executive of the Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA), supports the announcement as a demonstration of the Government's strong commitment to the development of Australia's knowledge economy.

'Since the first announcement of the R&D Tax reform and in our own discussions with the Department, it became very clear that the government has confidence in the abilities of Australian SMEs to deliver ground-breaking innovations for the global market,' said Reed.

'Innovation is at the heart of game development and the introduction of the new legislation not only assists in levelling the global competitive playing field, but also affords the local industry the opportunity to challenge traditional gameplay conventions.'

'Games have both driven advances in technology and brought advanced technologies into millions of homes around the world. The industry is constantly exploring new mechanisms to create engaging and meaningful experiences for players,' said Reed.

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The global computer and videogame industry is worth an estimated US $50 billion worldwide, expected to rise to $76 billion in 2013 and is the leading entertainment sector, eclipsing DVD or theatrical movie releases. A study released in the USA last week indicated that the average age of a videogame player is now 37 with 72 per cent of households playing computer or video games.

'News of the R&D tax reform has already attracted the interest of many global game publishers,' said Ron Curry, Chief Executive Officer of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association. 'The games industry is already a major contributor to the GDP's of a number of international territories and the introduction of the legislation could well put Australia on the same path.'

'Once the legislation is passed through the Senate we should expect to see an increase in investment interest from publishers that have established development studios in Australia and potentially far greater investment in the intellectual properties being developed within local game development studios.'

The Gillard Labor Government's $1.8 billion R&D Tax Credit is expected to provide more funding to innovative Australian companies - including ICT - and begins on July 1 2011.

This is a big win for the industry with lobbying having been ongoing for a number of years now.  Back in 2008 we reported on some attitudes of those in the Australian Film Industry already sick of the 'whinging' from the game developers in this country.  From July 1st expect the whinging to die down a little.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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