It’s play on for the games sector in South Australia

17 Jul 2023
It’s play on for gaming companies looking to expand or establish in South Australia as the South Australian Government allocates a further $3 million per annum to the South Australian Video Game Development (VGD) Rebate as part of the State Budget 2023-24, increasing to $3.8 million per annum by 2026-27.
The announcement comes on the back of a successful year for the games industry in South Australia with international gaming studios choosing to expand their presence into Adelaide.
Renowned game developer, Keywords Studios – known in Adelaide as Tantalus South – the world’s largest provider of end-to-end technical and creative solutions to video games publishers, and the first triple‑A global video gaming company to establish in the state – is just one of the new gaming studios that has taken advantage of the VGD rebate. 
The studio has employed 22 FTEs, with this number expected to grow to 35 employees by the end of 2023 and up to 50 by the end of 2024. 
Since establishing in South Australia, Tantalus South has generated over $2 million in revenue and has the potential to bring in over $6 million in the next financial year. 
Tantalus South is offering South Australians the opportunity to work on some of the best-selling games titles from the world’s top video games publishers including Microsoft, Google, Sony, Nintendo, Apple, EA, Riot and Sledgehammer. The studio is currently working on parts of Age of Empires from its Adelaide base.
Keywords Studio and Tantalus have a track record of producing top-tier and hugely popular games such as Fortnite, Age of Empires, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Valorant, League of Legends, Clash Royale, and Doom Eternal, Zelda series and Sonic the Hedgehog. 
Following the announcement by Tantalus South, one of Australia’s largest game developers, Big Ant Studios, opened its first South Australian studio in the heart of Adelaide and in the past two months, has employed six people, including three graduates, with aims to recruit up to 35 by the end of 2023. 
The establishment of the studio and new hires have all been as a direct result of the South Australian Video Game Development Rebate.
“The extension of the games rebate is a huge boost for game development in the state,” said Kim Forrest, Studio Head at Tantalus South. 
“It allows us to put more competitive deals in front of our international partners and allows us to offer world-class talent at a more competitive rate.
“The extension to 2026 will enable us to build this into our future planning and hiring and it shows that the state government has a long-term vision for game development jobs in South Australia. 
“It also shows that the government recognises video games as an industry that continues to go from strength to strength every year and that they have an eye on what the jobs of the future look like... jobs that our children want to do and will be doing.”
Big Ant Studios has plans to be the world’s largest sports games developer, and recently released the 2023 AFL/AFLW game, titled AFL 23 and is currently working on Cricket 24.
Launched in 2020, as the first of its kind in Australia, the South Australian Film Corporation’s ground-breaking South Australian Video Game Development (VGD) Rebate, enables video games studios to claim a 10 per cent rebate on eligible expenditure above $250,000 to develop a game in South Australia. This is one of the lowest eligible minimum spends across the nation. 
The introduction of the 30 per cent Australian Digital Games Tax Offset (DGTO) is scheduled to be back dated to take effect from 1 July 2022, available to eligible businesses that spend a minimum of $500,000 related to the development of eligible games.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics[1], released in June 2023, shows South Australia experienced the fastest employment growth of digital game development businesses in the nation, growing at 47 per cent, per annum, between 2015-16 and 2021-22, which is more than double the national average growth rate over the same period.
The Australian games industry has tripled according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics between 2015-16 and 2021-22.
PwC estimates that globally, total gaming revenue is expected to rise from US$227 billion in 2023 to US$312 billion in 2027[2].
The state also has Australia’s most recognised training institutions for game development, including Academy of Interactive Entertainment, CDW Studios, Flinders University and the University of South Australia and Tantalus South has welcomed four people that qualify for their graduate program.

[1] (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics - Film, Television and Digital Games, June 2023)
[2] Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2023–2027 | PwC