Qld Sqhub targets creative startups
Annastacia Palaszczuk: Queensland embracing games as a part of the screen industry
The Queensland government’s red carpet roll-out for game developers, designers, production companies and other creative startups has gathered momentum with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk naming a second cohort of ten companies destined for the Sqhub incubator.
The Sqhub incubator and coworking space is a Screen Queensland initiative that has been a key element in Queensland’s approach to its gaming ecosystem.
Sqhub’s focus is on providing a workspace and facilities that can help the expansion of Queensland’s digital content creation industry, along with offering networking connections, resourcing and infrastructure. The incubator itself focuses on professional development.
Australia’s game development market is worth upwards off $94 million, with Queensland accounting for 19 per cent of the total. The Sqhub is one of several initiatives launched by the government to grab a bigger portion of that growing market.
Sqhub includes the Game Development and Marketing Investment fund which provides funding grants capped at $100,000 for seasoned developers.
Premier Palaszczuk highlighted the state’s focus on growing a local ecosystem of startups with the potential for creative growth.
“From screen infrastructure like the Screen Queensland Studios, attracting international production and post-production work to the state, investing in local game development, right through to grassroots business development via Sqhub, we are building a strong and diverse Queensland screen industry,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“This broad investment means we’re ensuring Queensland is continuing to build its reputation as a global screen industry hub while cultivating strong local screen start-ups ready to capitalise on international opportunities.”
The Australian video games industry is growing, thanks to the continued popularity of mobile gaming, the resurgence of “indie” video games, and the surge in e-sports and online gaming.
The opportunity to build out that industry and use it as a point of difference for the state’s innovation and entrepreneurial agenda could set Queensland apart as a destination for founders.
Interactive Games and Entertainment Association chief executive Ron Curry is optimistic about the backing, and what it means for gaming in Queensland.
“IGEA is incredibly pleased to see Screen Queensland’s recent support and recognition for the rapidly growing games development industry in the state,” Mr Curry said.
“Sqhub is an innovative co-working space and incubator program that recognises the impact games start ups can have to support the broader creative, tech and screen sectors. It is not lost on us that half of the incoming 2019 residents to Sqhub are games studios.
"It is encouraging to see the Queensland State Government acknowledge the impact that games developers can have in a digital economy, and the opportunities that can support employment and skill creation in a growing global entertainment medium.
"It is [also] wonderful to see games included as part of the screen industry. We look forward to the time when their Commonwealth counterparts adopt the same approach and vision.”
The 2019 Sqhub participants include Lamington Games, founded by designer David Kilford, who released the mobile game 'SDL' with over 600,000 downloads, Mellow Games, founded by Mel Taylor, an award winning games designer and developer who moved into Brisbane’s ecosystem from Germany, and a line up of studios and individual creators.