SA government extends PDV rebate to games

Young thin woman playing with black gamepad, holding red joystick and giving to you for playing with her, sitting on red background.

The South Australian government has extended the state’s 10 per cent post-production, digital and visual effects (PDV) rebate to cover to video game development, hoping to grow jobs and boost international investment in the sector.

Administered by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), it will be the first state government rebate of this kind offered to the games industry in Australia.

Minister for Trade and Investment David Ridgway said: “This is an incredible growth industry and this rebate will not only help attract international games companies to South Australia, it will bolster the long-term growth of local players and other industries using the same technologies.”

“With our existing world-class VFX industry, the rebate for video game development sets up South Australia to be an international epicentre for the creative industries.”

“What is even more exciting is the skills transfer into other industries as the uptake and adoption of games technology, 3D simulation and virtual reality increasingly crosses over into multiple hi-tech industries. The jobs of the future will require this technology as 3D visualisation and simulation becomes the industry norm.”

It’s the government’s hope that by taking on more fee-for-service work, existing SA-based games companies will in turn be able to develop more local IP, and that entrepreneurs will be encouraged to launch more game dev start-ups.

Among recent games to come out of SA are Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight, ODD Games’ Monster Truck Destruction, Team Fractal Alligator’s Hacknet, and the upcoming Mighty Kingdom release Conan Chop Chop.

Mighty Kingdom CEO Philip Mayes said the incentive was “quite literally a game changer” for the industry in Australia, applauding the “leadership and vision” of the government.

Similarly, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), which has lobbied for screen industry rebates and incentives to be extended to game studios, commended the SA government for its “leadership position”.

IGEA CEO Ron Curry said: “In taking the first steps to provide equitable levers of assistance across the screen industries, South Australia will likely enjoy growth in employment of creative, high-tech and digitally literate staff who have adaptable, transferrable skills that can be utilised across the entire creative sector. A thriving game development industry will see a growth in export revenue not only for the state of South Australia, but for the country.

“This decision also serves as a critical reminder to the Australian Government of the important benefits of extending the federal PDV offset – which works hand-in-hand with state-based PDV rebates – to include video game development.”

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said the agency has been working collaboratively with the games sector to support its growth.

“The announcement of this rebate for games builds on the benefits reaped from the $300,000 Games Innovation Fund launched by this government, designed to boost the progress of outstanding, original and creative digital games for production in South Australia.

“Being the first in the nation to offer a games rebate will give our South Australian games companies the advantage to make them more competitive internationally.”

The launch of the SAFC’s PDV scheme in late 2017 was followed by Technicolor’s Mill Film launching an Adelaide office, and significant staff growth at VFX companies like Rising Sun Pictures. The rebate is non-discretionary and uncapped, requiring a minimum spend of $250,000.

Queensland and NSW have since launched similar PDV incentives.