Screen Australia drops a $150k Games Expansion Pack Grant for small and medium game developers
A Screen Australia initiative to help Australian game studios increase the ambition and quality of their digital games, and to transition into businesses of scale that can better compete in the global market. Screen Australia will provide production funding to successful applicants in the form of a grant towards the financing of their game. This games expansion pack grant is aimed at games with development budgets below $500,000.
The initiative will run for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 financial years.
Higher budget games are likely to be able to receive Australian Government support through the announced Digital Games Tax Offset, intended to be operational from 1 July 2022.
Applicants can apply for funding for a digital game with a budget below $500,000. Applicants can also apply for funding for a slate of two or more games at that budget level provided all proposed games are at a stage where they can meet the proof-of-concept requirements set out below.
Screen Australia’s total support will not exceed $150,000 per application in respect of a game or games. Applications are limited to one per company for this current round.
Games can be for any video game platform including PC, mobile and console. The primary intention of the Games Expansion Pack Grant is to fund the creation of new titles. However, applications for live ops development of existing games are eligible. Games with co-financing from commercial partners or state agencies (including state based rebates) are eligible to apply.
The following games are ineligible for support through the initiative:
- games not intended for supply to the general public (eg. a game to be used by a company for training purposes or by an institution, or a game limited to one or a small number of locations);
- games which are substantially advertising or promotions;
- gambling or gambling simulations; and
- games that in the reasonable opinion of Screen Australia may have difficulties receiving an Australian classification.
The initiative will preference original game ideas, rather than licensed intellectual property.
Applications for XR projects which are not a ‘game’ should not apply to Games: Expansion Pack. Such projects may be eligible for funding under Screen Australia’s Online Production fund.
The Games: Expansion Pack funding for 2021-22 is targeted at emerging or small to medium independent game developers.
Companies should fit within the following criteria:
- private company (not listed on the ASX) and it is not majority owned or controlled by an overseas company
- Student teams are not eligible to apply and should seek funding and other support offered by their educational providers.
- Applicants need to be a company
- the game must predominantly be developed in Australia, under the key creative control of Australians or Australian residents, to be considered sufficiently Australian to be eligible for funding
Applications for the 2021-22 round close 5pm Thursday 28th April 2022 and can be made through the Screen Australia application portal. Applications consist of the materials requested in the application form and a proof-of-concept in the form of:
- ideally, a playable prototype of the game(s); or
- an animated gameplay trailer for the game(s).
- a video pitch of no more than 3 minutes outlining the vision for the game(s) and the impact of a successful release on the applicant’s business;
- a development plan, including schedule and milestones;
- a financing plan and budget to completion and release (in the prescribed format);
- details of existing financing deals (such as grant agreements or deal memos); and
- a marketing and release plan no fewer than 3 pages long.
Applicants can also provide examples of past games or credits that they consider will help the assessment of the application. If an applicant and/or team has access requirements that make it difficult to submit their application, please email Games and we will make arrangements to assist.
Each application will be assessed on the below criteria:
- the level of creativity and entertainment value of the game(s);
- the viability of the budget and development and financing plans to enable the game(s) to be developed to release;
- the viability of the marketing and release plan(s); and
- the potential for the game(s) to contribute to the scale and sustainability of the applicant.
Applications will be assessed by Screen Australia’s Online Department. Screen Australia may engage external assessors to assist it with some applications. If external assessors are used, Screen Australia will provide an opportunity to advise of any conflicts of interest.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their submission by mid-June 2022.
Terms of Funding
Screen Australia’s funding will be provided as a grant. It is not repayable to Screen Australia from the receipts of the game(s). The funding agreement will set out milestones appropriate to the game’s development plan. Payments will be made on satisfactory achievement of each milestone.
At least 90% of the grant must be spent on development expenditure of the game(s) in Australia. Successful applicants can elect to allocate up to 10% of the grant amount to marketing activities for the game, including attending conferences and festivals to promote the game. Applicants will need to provide a satisfactory acquittal of the grant against the development expenditure.
Screen Australia acknowledges and appreciates the efforts that go into applications, but given the anticipated volume of applications, it will not be able to provide detailed individual feedback on each application.
For any enquiries, please contact the Screen Australia Program Operations team on 1800 507 901 or email Games.
Get your applications to the Games Expansion Pack Grant in now, time is limited.
- Scope your potential to claim various grant programs
- Assist with the preparation and lodgement of grant applications
- Review or provide a health check on your internally prepared grant applications
- Establish record-keeping practices as required under various grant programs
- Provide prepayment loans against future cash refunds under the R&D Tax Incentive
- Keeping industry informed on all new Government policy and grant initiatives
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