What can SA’s Video Game Development Rebate do for local developers?

The SA Video Game Development Rebate, the first of its kind in Australia, is now available to SA devs. What can a rebate like this actually achieve?
SA game developers

On 29 September, the South Australian Film Corporation implemented a tax rebate for game development, the first of its kind in Australia. 

The South Australian Video Game Development Rebate (SA VGD Rebate) is modelled on the PDV rebate for Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects, which was extended across the SA screen sector in 2018. It will allow videogame development projects that have spent $250,000 on development in South Australia to recoup 10% on eligible costs incurred. The rebate is available throughout the development process, and not just after the release of a game. 

The biggest difference in the VGD rebate, which was developed from the framework of the PDV offset, is that it is designed to accommodate ongoing production models, which are rare in non-interactive screen development. Rather than being developed as single, stable projects for a final release, like a film or television show, Vee Pendergrast, who consulted on the implementation of the rebate, explains: ‘many games have updates, downloadable content patches, additional content for purchase and ongoing updates, and the VGD rebate had to reflect that reality.’

The rebate has largely been met positively by the game development industry, with SA studio Mighty Kingdom’s CEO Philip Mayes offering: ‘This nation-leading Video Game Development Rebate will provide certainty in investment in video games in the state, and we expect to see industry growth, jobs and some awesome games being made by South Australia’s talented game developers.’

Peak industry body IGEA have long pushed for a federal tax offset for game development, and celebrated this decision by SA’s Marshall government: 

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob