Investment pays off as Brisbane studio tops Apple Arcade in 2021

8 April 2022

Gameloft Brisbane is a subsidiary of France-based Gameloft, the global video game developer and publisher. The company’s 60-strong studio in Brisbane started work in 2014. This studio has pioneered Gameloft’s entry into the subscription games industry.

The Brisbane subsidiary’s games are global hits. A remake of the 1970s PC classic – The Oregon Trail – was the most popular game on Apple Arcade in 2021.

The success of Gameloft Brisbane shows why global digital games companies are building studios in Australia’s capital cities.

Australia’s tax credits attract investment

One reason to build a games studio in Brisbane is tax credits. In March 2022, the Queensland agency, Screen Queensland, launched a new scheme that means 15% of games-development costs can be offset against tax.

This is on top of the 30% permissible under the Australian Government’s Digital Games Tax Offset.

‘When you add state and federal schemes, we can claim 45% of the cost of games development as a refund,’ says Dylan Miklashek, Studio Manager and Managing Director, Gameloft Brisbane. ‘Approximately 90% of our development costs are eligible.

‘The end result is that for a A$5 million game, we claim a refund of approximately A$2 million in development costs. This makes Queensland – and Australia more generally – hugely competitive in the global games-development industry.’

Queensland games ace in Apple Arcade

Gameloft Brisbane has had a hugely successful 7 years in Queensland. The workforce has grown from 15 to 60 people. The company has delivered 4 games, and the fifth is currently in production.

The Oregon Trail sees players re-trace the footsteps of 19th-century pioneers as they seek a new home in the Pacific Northwest. Transitioning this classic into mobile format has won global plaudits.

The studio’s other games include Ballistic Baseball, Zombie Anarchy and Royal Rising.

Lifestyle lures game-developer talent to Australia

Miklashek says another reason to set up in Queensland is access to creative expertise. 

‘Gameloft chose Brisbane because of the unique talent available here and because lifestyle matters,’ he says. ‘Developers who live here are happy, motivated and creative: that’s ideal for a games studio.’

Miklashek says Australia cultivates an ideal work-life balance. He says his teams lead active, healthy, outdoors lifestyles.

‘I’ve worked in the US and Japan and I’ve seen how people burn out,’ he says. ‘I have now lived in Australia for 16 years, and I think if you get the work-life balance right you optimise productivity.’

Diversity powers creativity

Employees come from multiple backgrounds. This variety makes Australia an attractive place to invest, according to Miklashek.

‘We have developers from all over the world in Australia, including from Asia,’ he says. ‘If you want your games to be truly creative, you want to take ideas from all around the world. As a migrant country, Australia’s talent is amazingly diverse.’

Miklashek says his employees in Brisbane come from a variety of different backgrounds. Currently, 30% are female.

‘Diversity helps create games that have global appeal,’ he says. ‘We harness all the varied experiences that our employees bring with them and create highly effective game scenarios. Diversity is a big plus for games development in Australia.’

For more information

International investors are buying into the Australian games industry. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is committed to helping international investors find opportunities.

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International investors are buying into the Australian games industry. The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is committed to helping international investors find opportunities.

Find out why Australia is a great investment destination for digital games: Digital games | Global Australia