Screen Australia announces new games funding initiatives

Three new funding programs will allow game developers to expand their ambitions, and push burgeoning projects forward.
screen australia games funding

Screen Australia has announced three new games funding initiatives designed to provide around AU $12 million worth of support to emerging Australian game developers. The new funds were revealed at GCAP 2023, and reported on by Kotaku Australia, with full details discussed during the event.

As revealed, the funding programs – the Games Production Fund, the Emerging Gamemakers Fund, and the Future Leaders Delegation – are set to come into effect in 2024, although applications are now live for those ready to apply.

The Games Production Fund is the flagship initiative of the bunch, with this program designed to replace the previously-established Games: Expansion Pack Fund. Like its predecessor, this program will provide funding support for developers working on video game projects in Australia – however, it is slightly more open, as anyone at any stage of the game development process is now able to apply.

Successful applicants will be provided a grant of up to AU $100,000 to support their work, and will need to adhere to a milestone goal system, with reporting to Screen Australia. Applicants will need a formal plan, details of progress, and a playable prototype to be considered.

Read: What video game funding really means for local Australian developers

Those without a playable prototype should consider applying for the Emerging Gamemakers Fund, which is a new initiative designed to support sole traders and small companies gearing up for the prototype stage of game development. It provides up to AU $30,000 to create an early demo or micro-scale game, with experimentation and exploration of new creative ideas heavily encouraged.

Both the Games Production Fund and the Emerging Gamemakers Fund will be offered over the next four years, with both providing two rounds of funding per financial year.

In addition to these funds, Screen Australia is also offering the Future Leaders Delegation program for eligible developers. This is a separate fund that provides five early-to-mid-career game developers from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to attend the international Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2024, with a grant of up to AU $8,000. The idea here is to allow local Australian developers to network overseas, and then share their learnings with the local Australian game development community.

As noted by Kotaku Australia, there is also now an additional opportunity for game developers looking for funding – as the previously screen-only Skills Development Fund is now open to those looking for support in developing specialised game development skills. This grant provides up to AU $80,000 for teams looking to upskill in new software, engines, or business areas – as long as at least three team members need training in that particular skill.

These funding programs and initiatives are now open for applications, with various deadlines. The first round of Games Production Fund and Emerging Gamemakers Fund applications will need to be lodged by 30 November 2023. The Future Leaders Delegation applications close on 9 November 2023. Finally, those interested in the Skills Development Fund will need to get in before 26 October 2023.

To learn more, Screen Australia is set to host a detailed webinar on 12 October 2023, after Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW) 2023 concludes. Find out more at Eventbrite.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.