VicScreen launches Play Now Melbourne games market

Play Now Melbourne aims to connect local developers with international publishers.
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VicScreen has announced the launch of Play Now Melbourne, a new games market initiative designed to connect local Australian game developers with international publishers, platform holders, and investors. The first event will be held during Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW) on 5 October 2023, and will feature publishers including Kepler Interactive, Meta, and Landfall Games, each of which will hear pitches from eligible developers.

While it will be held in Melbourne, at the State Library of Victoria, applicants from around Australia are encouraged to apply, as long as they can attend in person. There is no fee attached to the Play Now Melbourne event, although developers will need to apply via the VicScreen website and provide firm details of projects ready for pitching.

As indicated on the submission forms, applicants must ensure they have ‘pitch materials and/or a playable build demonstrating a project in active development, including early-stage concept, prototyping, vertical slice, or full production’ and that they ‘have a team in place capable of delivering the project’. Successful applicants will need to take part in pre-briefings ahead of the show.

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Per VicScreen, the Play Now Melbourne games market has been locked in for 2023 and 2024, with the opportunity for it to expand in future.

‘Play Now Melbourne is an unmissable market where international publishers and local developers are set to converge,’ Caroline Pitcher, CEO of VicScreen said in a press release. ‘[The event] will create meaningful and ongoing opportunities for local game developers to succeed on the global stage, leading to stable and rewarding careers.’

There are lofty goals for Play Now Melbourne, with VicScreen aiming to make it the ‘leading market platform’ for game developers to conduct business and form professional relationships in the games industry. While the pitching process does not guarantee game publishing deals, providing a market for local Australian developers to connect with publishers may provide the opportunity needed for emerging creatives.

Play Now Melbourne will kick off on 5 October 2023 in Melbourne, Victoria. To find out more, head to the VicScreen website.

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.