States call for tax breaks for games development

Queensland IT Minister Chris Cummins has made an impassioned plea for tax concessions to ramp up the state's computer games industry.

Cummins said such tax breaks would encourage further moves into games development within Queensland and proposed an investment system similar to film development.

He said only the film industry gets the support it needs locally from government and tax breaks encouraging the developing of the local film industry should be extended to include the electronic games industry.

"We want to see our games developers less reliant on foreign investment and publishers and see more games funded and developed right here in Queensland," Cummins said.

"If the federal government is fair dinkum about encouraging home-grown, high-skill IT jobs, then tax breaks for games developers is a step in the right direction.

"The electronic games industry is worth $40 billion worldwide and is experiencing huge growth. We need to do all we can to help local companies secure their slice of the international pie."

According to Multimedia Victoria, export revenue for computer games developed in Australia is currently around $100 million a year. That figure is expected to increase to $1 billion in 2010.

An advisor to Victorian ICT Minister Marsha Thomson said global computer games sales are often larger than global box office revenues, but ownership and publishing rights are the critical money spinner.

The advisor said in this context, concession and incentive schemes need to examine the assistance required in obtaining the resources to undertake major games projects and move from just developing game content to retaining ownership and publishing rights for the games themselves.

However, a spokesperson for the minister said the federal government must support the entire IT industry in Australia, not just the gaming industry.

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Michael Crawford

Computerworld
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