Last year the Environment and Communications References Committee convened an inquiry into the state of the Australian games industry. It spoke with academics, developers, and many more stakeholders, visited actual working spaces, and got a snap-shot into what the industry looked like following the repeal of the Australian Games Industry fund.
And now it’s released its findings, an 80 page report that basically can be summed up thus:
Can do more.
Senator Scott Ludlam, a gamer in his own right and one of the driving forces behind the inquiry, published his thoughts today on Kotaku, and he could not be clearer.
“The key recommendations in our report are clear, and the challenges for the industry were evident from the outset. While the average Australian gamer is pretty much the average Australian – people of all ages, backgrounds and genders game enthusiastically – the industry itself has a major diversity problem. Proposals to make future Government support contingent on improved diversity within the industry was enthusiastically promoted by developers and spokespeople, who made it clear that diverse creators make for more appeal for the work.”
The report has found that even though the industry wants to stand on its own two feet, the government can still do more to support local games innovation, in the shape of low interest loans and tax offsets. One thing that should be done is that a successor to the Australian Interactive Games Fund should be created, and that more should be done to promote the use of shared working spaces, modelled on The Arcade in Melbourne. The report also suggests that ‘serious games’ should be utilised in other industries, such as healthcare and education, and that driving diversity is an important factor in creating a more open and vibrant games industry.
It also makes not that properly competitive broadband infrastructure would go a long way to making the sector more robust.
The full report is rather extensive, but it’s well worth reading.