After the initial reports that the Victorian Government had ceased funding for indie game development overnight, we receive a better understanding of the situation from the head of the Game Developers' Association of Australia, Tony Reid.
To start, there has been no formal announcement that the funding to games has been cut, but it is quite true. To give you an understanding of how the Film Vic funding worked: the agency is provided funding annually from the Victorian Treasury. This money is designated by Film Victoria to a variety of feature film, television and documentary projects. None of that allocation is used for the digital media sector. To date support for the games program has come through additional funding, from both the Victorian Treasury and the Department of Business and Innovation. It is this additional funding that has been cut."
According to Mr. Reid, Film Victoria has an obligation to support the games sector as decreed in the Film Act of 2001, so not all hope is lost. As a result however, Film Victoria will need to adjust their internal budgets accordingly due to the recent budget cuts, meaning that other projects such as Film and Television will also feel the cut.
It is my view, one that I have communicated to the CEO of FIlm Victoria, that should Film Victoria fail to secure additional funding from government (they will keep trying), there is an expectation that they will allocate a portion of the funds provided for film and television toward the games program. It is also the expectation of the GDAA that the funding does not drop below the current level, and certainly not to a level that we would consider tokenism.
Mr. Reid then went on to confirm that the GDAA would be in close talks with Film Victoria as the new budgets are determined, and that Film Victoria will continue to support the local gaming sector.
Stay tuned for more comments from local developers and organisations throughout the day as they get in contact with MMGN.
By Stephen Heller - Tweet @Heller_MMGN