Video game developers are venting frustration over what they say is Federal Government inaction in their industry.
- Ed Orman, co-founder of Uppercut Games, says his business benefited from the Australian Interactive Games Fund
- The funding scheme was axed in 2014 and has not been replaced
- Greens senator Jordon Steele-John is backing calls for the Government to do more to support the local gaming industry
Nearly two years after a Senate committee report on how to support the sector was first released, the Government handed down its response last week.
But its reply was largely non-committal.
The Government only noted most of the committee's recommendations, including a suggestion that it introduce a funding scheme based on the former Australian Interactive Games Fund.
The scheme was set up after the video game industry nearly collapsed following the global financial crisis. But it was axed in 2014.
The co-founder of Uppercut Games, Ed Orman, said his Canberra-based business benefited from the fund while starting out several years ago.
He said a similar fund could help other new companies get a leg up.
"It's a terrifyingly brutal, hit-driven industry; it's very easy to start up and it's also very easy to fail," Mr Orman said.
"That fund actually allowed us to grow, to double in size, which meant that the scope of the projects we could take on and the number of projects we could take on massively increased and our profitability went up massively."
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the Government was looking at ways to support games businesses.
"The Government recognises the importance of Australia's video game development industry," the statement said.
"The Government provides significant support for innovative Australian businesses.
"Government measures that may assist game developers include the research and development tax incentive, export market development grants and the early stage investor tax incentive."
But Greens senator Jordon Steele-John, who has played a fair bit of the game World of Warcraft himself, said the Government's response to the report made him cough with shock.
"They just do not understand the industry, its cultural, economic or more broadly its creative value," Senator Steele-John said.
"My initial reaction was disappointed but not really surprised."
He said many developers found the NBN was not fast enough for their business.
"From that fundamental failure to invest in that piece of infrastructure, springs a complete inability to engage with the tech sector generally," he said.
Mr Orman said his company chose to base itself in Gungahlin, in Canberra's north, because it would have a good NBN connection.
He said he was still hopeful the Government would provide more help for fledgling gaming businesses.
"I suspect that if they could see the kinds of things that we're working on first-hand — the stuff that we're doing here and there's a lot of great stuff in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and even Tasmania," he said.
"There are so many studios doing really world-class-quality work.
"I think we're in a really amazing position to blossom into something even bigger.
"We just need to convince everybody else that that's the case."