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Expert commentary: Your kid's a gamer? Relax.

Dr James Birt is an Associate Professor of Computer Games at the Faculty of Society and Design at Bond University.

Think your kid’s obsession with gaming is a waste of time? Think again.

Those hours plugged into a screen and headset could be setting them up as leaders of future industries.

The Queensland and Federal governments recently announced major incentives to support the games industry with tax breaks and funding grants.

Queensland brought forward a 15 percent tax incentive to set up locally based games studios. Screen Australia will offer grants of up to $150,000 for games development nationwide. Federal tax incentives of 30 per cent are already available for games with budgets of $500,000 or more.

This is much more than a grab for the gaming vote – it’s a smart investment in the nation’s future that will boost a huge range of industries we wouldn’t necessarily associate with gaming.

The technology and skills that drive the video game industry are already at the core of some of our fastest-growing sectors, and as we head towards Web 3.0 they will become even more critical.

New sectors and jobs will emerge in which understanding the fundamentals of how the ‘magic’ behind gaming works will be as vital as being able to send an email.

We’re already seeing this play out in industries like healthcare, film, construction, and design, where game engines, augmented reality and virtual reality are increasingly becoming day-to-day tools of the trade.

But as we move into the metaverse, the transferrable skills to be gained in the games industry could set young people on a huge range of different paths.

The gaming industry is agile – staying relevant means being able to pivot and adapt to a changing market and diverse audiences.

Like most of the tech industry, the changes outstrip the ability of governance and regulation to keep pace, and while this can create unforeseen and often uncomfortable issues, it’s also where the greatest opportunities lie.

Working in the games industry offers the chance to develop a deep understanding of the tools that will drive so many jobs of the future.

Investing in incentives that encourage games studios to set up in Australia and forge a strong, competitive ecosystem here offers one of our best chances to create a talent pipeline that will elevate existing industries and birth new ones.

The promise is less about how big gaming could get, but where the gaming industry could ultimately take a career.

Starting in gaming doesn’t have to mean staying in gaming, and that’s why this recent move from governments is so forward-thinking.

The benefits will extend much further by creating a pool of workers who might start with a set of industry-specific skills but gain transferable knowledge and understanding that will allow them to lead and innovate in jobs and industries we can only just yet imagine.

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