FTI supports game developers

17/10/2014 - 15:09

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Western Australia’s game developers have been given a helping hand following a public acknowledgement that the barriers to their success are significant.

FTI supports game developers
FLOW-ON EFFECT: Kate Raynes-Goldie hopes other funding bodies will replicate FTI’s support for game developers. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Western Australia’s game developers have been given a helping hand following a public acknowledgement that the barriers to their success are significant.

The Fremantle-based Film and Television Institute has announced it will open one of its competitive grant programs to game developers, as well as filmmakers.

It means any game developer who is an FTI member can apply for one of two $5,000 grants or a $10,000 grant made available through the One Off Member’s Production Fund.

While some are not as big, it’s the first funding made available specifically for WA game developers after ScreenWest dropped its plans to offer support, as Business News reported in February.

The federal government also withdrew its three-year, $20 million Australian Interactive Games Fund in the 2014-15 budget.

WA developer Saxon Druce that grant to fund development of his Zombie Outbreak Simulator game in 2013.

FTI signalled its intention to back aspiring game developers earlier this year with the appointment of award-winning game developer Kate Raynes-Goldie as the institute’s first director of interactive programs.

Dr Raynes-Goldie has overseen an investigation into the state of the local game development industry, which revealed more than 70 per cent of game developers were earning less than $15,000 per year.

She said it was clear the lack of funding support had held the local industry back.

“We have no state or federal funding for our burgeoning industry, which makes the barriers to entry very high,” she wrote in the report on the sector.

“As a result, we have only a handful of full-time studios operating, with limited employment opportunities for new graduates.

“My hope is that FTI’s support will encourage others to get on board in supporting WA game developers.”

FTI has also announced other initiatives for local developers, including a business incubator, a mentorship program, and a series of professional development opportunities with a range of established games professionals.

The global games market reached $93 billion in 2013 and provided 152,000 direct and associated jobs in the US (compared with 1,618 jobs in Australia).

Most recently, the sci-fi video game ‘Destiny’ amassed $325 million worth of sales in the first five days after its release last month.

FTI chief executive Paul Bodlovich said the digital nature of video games made exporting inexpensive.

“While WA has an emerging games industry, it has not been provided the resources necessary for it to grow and tap into this global market,” he said.

“By assisting studios to establish themselves, FTI hopes to assist the foundation of a powerful industry and enhance the vibrancy of the WA screen sector.”

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