The Screen Queensland Game Grants aim to support the growth of the video games industry in Queensland, by supporting local developers and studios to create digital games.
The grant will support applications for projects at varying stages: Prototype, Early Access or Full Launch.
The next round of applications close Sunday 8 May, 2022 (11.59pm AEST).
Pictured: Phantom Abyss, by Team WIBY
The Screen Queensland Game Grants Program aims to support the growth of the video games industry in Queensland by supporting local developers and studios to create digital games. This program supports applications for projects targeting prototype, early access or full launch stages.
The Game Grants are open to applications from both emerging and established game developers. At least 75% of the development team must be based in Queensland unless an exemption is granted.
This fund aims to support projects where Queensland-based game developers retain ownership of the subsequent intellectual property.
To be eligible, applicants must:
- be a Bona Fide Queensland game development company or individual (as defined in Screen Queensland’s Terms of Trade);
- be able to demonstrate that they are the IP creator and owner of the game. Commissioned projects are not eligible;
- not be full-time undergraduate, honours or masters students;
- not propose a project designed for the education, training, advertising, marketing, tourism or media sector;
- not submit an application for a project that has been declined funding by Screen Queensland previously, except where it can be demonstrated the application has been significantly reworked prior to submitting. Projects that have been declined twice are not eligible;
- not submit an application for a project that has not acquitted previous Screen Queensland funding; and
- only submit one application per round.
The following formats are eligible for the Grants:
- premium and free-to-play games;
- live-ops development; and
- entertainment games for a mass audience.
The following are ineligible for the Grants:
- games that are not completely digital (boardgames or hybrid digital/physical games);
- gambling games;
- serious games, or games which are made for purposes other than pure entertainment;
- games that are, in Screen Queensland’s opinion, likely to be refused classification under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth);
- games designed to, in Screen Queensland’s opinion, predominantly or substantially market, promote or advertise a product or service; and
- games designed primarily for educational or training purposes.
Applications with team members in default with Screen Queensland are not eligible to apply until all previous funding has been acquitted. If you are not sure whether you are in default, contact Screen Queensland on (07) 3248 0500 or email@example.com.
In addition to meeting the requirements of this funding program, all applicants must adhere to the Screen Queensland Terms of Trade.
The program aims to deliver benefits to people from all backgrounds with a focus on diversity and inclusion to provide opportunities to all. Screen Queensland encourages applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people from all under-represented backgrounds.
Funding caps vary depending on the project production target.
- Funding capped at AU$20,000.
- Prototypes should illustrate core gameplay and the key differentiator of your game. A good prototype has ‘found the fun’.
Vertical Slice/Early Access
- Funding capped at AU$50,000.
- This target should see polished core gameplay, where players can experience a good representation of full release gameplay.
- Early Access may include targeting a Kickstarter campaign or releasing an incomplete, but playable, version of the game in Steam’s early access.
Full Game Release
- Funding capped at AU$90,000.
- This is a fully launched 1.0 version of the game.
The amount requested should be commensurate with the experience of the team, the scope of the work proposed, the market/audience for the project, and the contribution provided by the applicant and any other funding sources.
This program is grant-based, with no repayment to Screen Queensland required. The grant is paid over milestones, in the form of drawdowns, throughout production.
The grant amount requested of Screen Queensland must be at least matched by the applicant (cash and in‐kind will be considered) and/or other funding sources. These matched amounts and other funding sources must be included in an application for the grant.
The grant is only to be used as funding for eligible costs.
Eligible costs include:
- staffing costs and other costs associated with the game’s development and release;
- licensing costs and legal fees. This includes assistance with distribution, licensing and publishing agreements, and intellectual property protection;
- costs associated with marketing the project. This includes assistance with strategy, public relations, press kits, pricing strategy, app-store search engine optimisation, user acquisition, in‐app purchase optimisation and localisation; and
- engagement of a highly experienced mentor to support key project personnel with creative, technical or business elements of the project.
Screen Queensland will consider requests for support to port already released projects to new platforms, and to develop new downloadable content (DLC). Released projects requesting marketing and localisation costs must demonstrate, in Screen Queensland’s opinion, new and significant market opportunities to be considered.
Your application will be assessed by a committee of Screen Queensland executives and external peer assessors. Screen Queensland aims to make a decision within 8-10 weeks.
The following assessment criteria applies to all applications for Game Grants:
- the track record of the team and their ability to deliver the project. Applications from teams of less experienced developers should spend extra time and effort on their pitch documents;
- the overall quality of the project, considering artistry, gameplay, originality, technology and any commercial potential;
- the strength and appropriateness of the marketing strategy and the project’s ability to reach its target audience;
- the viability and appropriateness of the budget and schedule, and the strength of the finance plan, including contributions from the applicant and other funding sources; and
- the benefits to the Queensland games industry, including an assessment of the levels of Queensland expenditure, employment of Queensland games developers, upskilling and internship opportunities, long-term benefits for the applicant business and any broader commercial or cultural benefits to the industry.
Screen Queensland reserves the right to consider any other relevant information, and amend application criteria, in its absolute discretion.
Applicants will be notified as soon as possible following a decision. Successful applicants will receive a conditional letter of offer with the Grant amount.
Applicants who accept the Grant, will then enter into a formal agreement with Screen Queensland that outlines delivery, reporting and acquittal requirements, as well as other important legal terms and conditions including minimum Queensland expenditure, marketing and other delivery materials required to be provided and Screen Queensland credit requirements. You should seek legal and commercial advice on this document.
The Grant will be paid over the course of the project according to drawdown milestones agreed in the contract. Payments cannot be made without a fully executed contract, Screen Queensland’s acceptance of executed transaction documents for each drawdown, and receipt of a valid tax invoice.
Applicants will be given 60 days from approval to satisfy any approval conditions and commence contracting with Screen Queensland.
This 60-day period may only be extended with the agreement of Screen Queensland. Funding can be revoked in the event that contracting does not begin within this period, or the contracting period extends longer than three (3) months.
Screen Queensland requires the following documents to assess an application. Incomplete applications will not be assessed:
A creative pitch document
This document focuses on key aspects of the game such as a core gameplay loop, differentiating features, artwork and other relevant details to describe a compelling game.
As a general guide, this document should be approximately 10 pages. Applicants should research video game publisher pitch templates.
It is suggested that you include the following:
Title and Introduction
- Title Art/Logo/Concept Art.
- One-line elevator pitch.
Gameplay Mechanics Overview
- Bullet points that summarise unique mechanics and features. Compare to existing games and how you differentiate.
- Describe your core gameplay loop. Ideally with a diagram.
- An in-game art image or gif is ideal.
- Mock-ups of in-game art from different parts of the game.
- Overworld, level, characters.
- Dot points about innovative or distinguishing visuals.
- Outline in dot points about how the game moves forward, keeping the player’s attention.
- Examples include:
- How are levels or story linked?
- How does the player evolve in-game?
- Explain how audio and SFX works with your game. Include any innovative features.
Development Team Summary
- Who are your team and what experience/skills do they have?
- Experienced teams with a history of releasing commercial games create a much stronger application.
- Outline any skill gaps you have and how you plan to address them.
- Speak to upskilling opportunities where senior and junior developers are working together on the game.
A project plan document including:
- Which platform/s will the game be released on? How will it generate income?
- A development timeline of key milestones including the completion of the work.
- Audience plan – who is your audience and how will you reach them? What is your release plan?
- Competitor and market analysis – are there similar games in the market? What demand is there for your game?
- Evidence of interested distributors/publishers (if relevant) – attach confirmation of attachment and deal terms.
- Evidence of licenses, approvals and development kits (if relevant).
- Game developer company details and ABN.
- CVs and bios of key team members.
- Applications for prototype funding should include a project advancement strategy, detailing immediate next steps after the prototype is completed.
Budget (using provided template) with Queensland expenditure included:
Where team members or suppliers are reinvesting their fee, a list of budget line items and their associated position/service will be required, as well as a letter of commitment from each person that is reinvesting their fee (signed by the team member). The payment of reinvested fees should also be represented in the recoupment schedule.
For Early Access and Full Production applications asking for more than $20,000:
Provide a video or trailer (or suitable proof of concept) demonstrating the gameplay and features of your game. Videos should be a maximum of three (3) minutes.
Provide a guide for our assessors to access relevant prototypes safely.
Submission of an application constitutes acceptance of these Guidelines and the application terms and conditions.
Applicants must notify Screen Queensland in writing if they have an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest in applying for the Incentive and, if so, the manner in which they propose to deal with the conflict.
The applicant retains all intellectual property rights in its submission. The applicant grants an irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty and fee-free licence to the Screen Queensland to use, adapt and modify its intellectual property rights in its submission for the purposes of Screen Queensland analysing and evaluating the applicant’s submission.
Screen Queensland’s liability in relation to the application process is limited to $1.
Screen Queensland reserves the right to change any element of the grant, these Guidelines or the application process at any time and in its absolute discretion.
The Grant application, contract and any Grant funding approved by Screen Queensland are commercial-in-confidence, and the applicant must maintain strict confidentiality of the information and only use the information for the purposes of complying with its obligations under the Grant terms and conditions and contract.
Successful applicants are required to provide Screen Queensland with marketing materials on request. Details of credit placement and other marketing requirements will be negotiated during contracting.
Games involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content will be eligible for Screen Queensland support where some or all of the game’s intellectual property is owned by members of these communities. Please ensure that consultation with ICIP Rights holders and appropriate licences for ICIP Rights have been obtained and that you read and abide by Screen Australia’s Pathways and Protocols document.
How do I apply?
- Read the guidelines in conjunction with Screen Queensland’s Terms of Trade, paying special attention to the eligibility and assessment criteria for the Grant Program. Your team must pass all eligibility and strongly satisfy all assessment criteria to have a competitive application. Incomplete and ineligible applications will not be assessed.
- Contact Screen Queensland’s Content team to discuss your application, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (07) 3248 0500. Screen Queensland is unable to discuss your application while it is undergoing assessment. We advise applicants to reach out to screen Queensland with any questions prior to submission.
- Complete the application form through Screen Queensland’s SmartyGrants form.
- Submit by round closing date. Late submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances. An automated email will be sent to you within 30 minutes of your submission to indicate Screen Queensland has received your submission. It is your responsibility as applicant to contact Screen Queensland if you do not receive an application receipt email.
- Applicants may be asked to provide additional documentation or discuss the application in more detail if assessors require further information. Screen Queensland aims to notify applicants of decisions as soon as possible.
Ensure that your application is of high quality. If you are declined once, you will need to significantly rework your proposal before attempting to reapply. If your project is declined twice, it will not be eligible for future applications. You can give your application the best chance of being competitive by:
- strongly meeting the eligibility and assessment criteria;
- discussing your applications with a member of the SQ Content team prior to submission;
- employing Queensland practitioners in as many roles as possible;
- spending most of your budget in Queensland;
- having the IP owned by Queensland game developer/s;
- ensuring that your budget, marketing and finance plan are suited to your distribution platform/s;
- combining experienced developers with junior talent on the project; and
- having a strong strategy to source additional financing for the project, such as publisher deals or platform funding programs.
Keep in mind that the information you provide in your application will form part of your contract with Screen Queensland if you are successful.