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Game-changer: Gameloft says tax breaks breathe new life into industry

Business

The Australian video gaming industry was on the threshold of “massive, historical moment’’ after the Federal Government announced tax incentives that could put the sector on equal footing with the rest of the world.

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It means Brisbane’s Gameloft may expand, depending on the fine print on the Government announcement made last week for a 30 per cent offset.

“Brisbane used to be great. In 2004 to 2008 we were kicking arse. We (Brisbane) had at least four studios that had more than 100 employees each,” Gameloft’s Brisbane studio manager Dylan Miklashek said.

“It was awesome. We were leading the charge in Australia and then the GFC came, the exchange rate advantage disappeared and the rest of the world starting working with their governments to do tax incentives and funding.”

The expected revival of the sector comes as Gameloft has revived Oregon Trail, once an educational game of frontier survival that was initially published in 1974 on the Apple II and has multiple versions since, including one which introduced zombies. Now it’s after the nostalgia market.

Oregon Trail comes on Ballistic Baseball’s heels, also on Apple Arcade and developed by the team in Brisbane.

“What we have done is go back to a premium game on Apple Arcade and that allowed us to do something that was in line with original,” Miklashek said.

“We go deeper into the experiences that you would have, the number of stops and the number of different paths you can take to get there.”

He said it was the first time he could recall seeing an Australian-produced game featured so prominently in Apple Arcade’s materials.

“The one in the 1970s and 80s was great for its time but most people are looking for something a little more sophisticated. That’s where we went to town on the graphics. We really beat those up and using the unreal engine. The first thing people notice is the graphics.

“All the arts, programming and design are done here in Brisbane.’’

It’s an achievement for a sector in Brisbane that was once a national leader and Miklashek said the Federal Government’s announcement last week of a tax incentive was “absolutely massive, historical moment in the video game development industry in Australia.

“We are finally now able to compete with the triple-A studies around the world. Places like Montreal.

“I guarantee this is going to attract the attention of big publishers worldwide, particularly in the US and Canada.’’

However, he said the fine print of the policy would determine what happens next.

 

 

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