SBS tech and current affairs news program The Feed has highlighted the Victorian State government's initiative in filling in a significant gap left by the Federal Government's removal of games funding.

The Feed covers the axing of the Aussie Interactive Games Fund

The Arcade is a two story not-for-profit collaborative development space in Melbourne housing many videogame entities and being the only one of its kind in the country.

Accelerators and incubators are present in other parts of Australia, but The Arcade is a hub which incorporates the Game Developers’ Association of Australia, Surprise Attack (an indie games label), the Melbourne chapter of the International Game Developers’ Association, as well as 17 indie developers.

The Arcade was set up by the Game Developers’ Association of Australia, and later received $30’000 each from State and Federal funding, the latter of which came in the first round of approvals from the $10 million Australian Interactive Games Fund. Coverage of the axing of that fund was abundant in games and technology publications throughout the country (and made its way into broadsheet and tabloid papers) but garnered little attention from non-gaming television.

The Feed’s coverage interviews Louise Asher, the Victorian State Minister for Innovation, who earnestly argues for her $3.5 million investment in the local industry (while shrewdly backing away from criticising the Federal Government’s decision to remove its $10 million fund).

Arguments are then concisely and passionately made by some of The Arcade’s inhabitants for further future games support from local government. Of particular note is that the return on investment in games (as an export business) is five times that of its film counterpart, as well as the salient point about that a percentage of proceeds from major successful applicants would’ve gone back into the Games Fund, making it self-sustaining after only three years.

Developers housed at The Arcade currently include The Voxel Agents (Train Conductor, Puzzle Retreat), Tin Man Games (the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook Adventures), League of Geeks (Armello), Wander MMO (Wander) and many more.

Currently, 40% of all game development in Australia takes place in Victoria.

The Arcade is now looking to expand with the introduction of an Educational Skills Development Program, which will see space be taken up by students who are still breaking into the industry, affording them the opportunity to work side-by-side with indies of various scales. Antony Reed, CEO of the GDAA, tells Develop that he’s only looking at continuing to expand the successful space moving forward.

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