The Victorian Government has signed an agreement with Microsoft Australia and the Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) which will make Xbox Development Kits available to Victorian game developers free of charge.
Microsoft Australia will give 18 development kits, which will be released under strict conditions, to the GDAA for use by local games developers.
The Government claims the move will make the kits cheaper for small companies and startups.
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks claimed about $2 million per day is being spent on interactive computer games and hardware, and the Australian computer games development industry is estimated to generate $100 million in export income.
The Government claims that each game developed could generate an investment of $5 million and create up to 30 new jobs in Victoria.
Victorian Minister for Information and Communications Technology Marsha Thomson said the kits were a resource that all Victorian computer game developers could leverage.
“The kits will become a vital piece of shared infrastructure, creating new opportunities and new markets for local companies in the years ahead,” she said.
Thomson said the Government’s policies contain a number of initiatives designed to stimulate the local industry and attract global companies to Victoria. One such initiative will see the Government provide support to local games companies to attend international trade exhibitions, such as Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in the US.
As previously reported in ARN, the Government will also contribute $150,000 towards the establishment of a training school for the next generation of computer game developers. The Melbourne-based Academy of Interactive Entertainment will open next year.
Thomson said the Academy of Interactive Entertainment would directly address the skills demanded by Victoria’s computer game industry by ensuring a constant supply of trained computer games technicians.
“The industry is telling [the Government that it needs] people with these kinds of skills and this will only continue to help fuel the growth of Victoria’s world-class computer games industry,” she said.
“The fact the Academy has chosen Melbourne to open its second campus is a major win for Victoria and further bolsters our reputation as Australia’s computer game capital.”