'Unpacking' by Witch Beam.

Queensland has become the third state to widen its post, digital and visual effects (PDV) rebate to cover game development, with a 15 per cent incentive to apply from next year.

In making the announcement this morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also revealed that the Queensland Government has moved to lower the accessibility threshold from $500,000 to $250,000.

The move comes a month after NSW broadened its 10 PDV rebate to include game development from October 1, while earlier this year, the Federal Government announced a 30 per cent Digital Games Tax Offset as part of May’s Budget.

The government previously terminated the Australian Interactive Games Fund as part of its funding cuts to Screen Australia in the 2014 Budget.

In 2020, South Australia became the first state government to extend its PDV rebate for games.

Like Film Victoria, Screen Queensland has offered games-specific production funding for several years. The agency supported Brisbane-based studio Witch Beam in the creation of Unpacking, which this month won Australian Game of the Year and an award for Excellence in Accessibility, and has also collaborated with Gameloft to offer mentorships and placements.

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said the state was home to a growing base of talented specialists and studio facilities in the post-production, visual effects, animation, and games disciplines.

“The widening of the PDV incentive will be welcome news to our local games sector, which we support through our screen finance and market programs as well as mentorships, workshops, and our SQhub, our subsidised co-working space ideally suited to games developers and start-up studios,” she said.

Gameloft Brisbane studio manager and Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) board member Dylan Miklashek said the rebate would allow the company to hire a second team of 30-40 people that would have otherwise not have been possible.

“Gameloft and IGEA have worked tirelessly with Screen Queensland and the Queensland Government to deliver this immensely exciting news,” he said.

IGEA CEO Ron Curry also congratulated the Queensland Government on the announcement.

“This new game incentive, coupled with the Federal Digital Games Tax Offset to be introduced in July 2022, will ensure that Queensland will see a surge in employment and economic return for those companies creating games and game related technologies,” he said.

“Further to that, we expect to see increased investment from international game studios looking to establish a base in Australia, with Queensland now potentially set to become one of the most attractive places for game development anywhere in the world.”

The Queensland Government has also announced support for another seven productions through Screen Queensland’s PDV incentive, including five animated children’s programs, a surfing documentary and an international feature film.

The projects are:

The Infernal Machine by Paramount Pictures | Serve Chilled (Brisbane)
The Best Surf Movie in the Universe produced by Bronte Pictures | The Post Lounge (Brisbane)
ScaryGirl produced in partnership with Passion Pictures | Like A Photon Creative (Brisbane)
LOL Surprise! OMG – The Movie produced by MGA Entertainment and released on Netflix | Pixel Zoo (Brisbane)
LOL House of Surprises produced by MGA Entertainment and released on Netflix
The Sloth Life | Like A Photon Creative (Brisbane)
Baby Alive! produced by Hasbro Australia | Pixel Zoo (Brisbane)

In 2022, Screen Queensland will launch a PDV placements program offering paid positions for newly-qualified screen practitioners to work in the state’s burgeoning post-production sector.

Screen Queensland is also currently recruiting for a dedicated Games and SQhub director, to lead in the administration of games funding programs and the SQhub co-working space at Teneriffe, Brisbane.

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