Australian video game development industry contributes to exports and job opportunities

28
Nov

Sydney, Australia – 28 November 2019 – The Australian video game development industry continues to grow in size, drawing the majority of its revenues from exports while creating significant opportunities for skilled jobs locally, a survey of local game developers has shown.

According to the survey undertaken for the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), the Australian game development industry generated $143.5 million in the 2018-2019 financial year, up 21% since the last survey was conducted in 2017.  71% of the studios surveyed project growth overall, with 35% expecting “significant growth” in revenues in the coming financial year.

The local industry employed 1,275 fulltime equivalent employees (growing 37% since 2017), of which programmers (34%), artists (19%) and management, marketing and administration (11%) made up the majority. The number of organisations planning to employ additional staff is also growing with 61% of studios surveyed indicating plans for new hires, compared with 53% in 2017.

Australian studios are creative and focused with almost two-thirds (61%) of respondents exclusively developing their own Intellectual Property (IP). A further 28% develop their own IP alongside producing games and services for clients.

83% of the revenue generated by Australian studios came from overseas, up 3 points from 80% in 2017. There has been a marked increase in focus on Asian markets, with 65% of respondents developing for Asian markets, previously 37% in 2017. Other international markets include the US and Europe.

“The survey shows that the Australian game development industry continues to grow and succeed despite a lack of policies to support our industry that makes it harder to develop games in Australia than in almost any other advanced economy,” said Ron Curry, CEO, IGEA. “Games are not only important for their contribution to the nation’s economy and screen sector, they are also interwoven into the fabric of Australian culture, with two-thirds of all Australians playing video games.1

“Despite this growth, the Australian video games development industry is still diminutive compared to our peers, with Canada announcing this month that its games industry employed 48,000 workers and generated AU$4 billion, which is more than 20 times larger than our sector.”

Further to that, “The global games market generates more than US$153 billion[1] each year,” said Curry. “While 83% of the income generated by Australian developers already comes from overseas sources, we’re still only capturing 0.05% of the global games market.”

Asked about the main challenges facing their industry, respondents cited lack of government funding as well as difficulty attracting early stage development and expansion investment as stressful or very stressful.  Other challenges keeping developers up at night include internet speeds, despite the continued rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN). Developers also cited the difficulty in securing international publisher deals as contributing to their stress levels.

The Australian game development industry is also rebuilding, with 55% of studios less than five years old. Given the challenges that local studios are facing with little to no start-up or expansion support from government, coupled with multinational studios looking to Australia as an option for investment, IGEA encourages State and Federal Governments to consider boosting investment and recognition of the sector to spur even greater opportunities

“The local games industry is already making gains and contributing millions to the Australian economy; however, we continue to be excluded from federal government screen grants and tax offsets, despite telling Australian screen stories and also having a much greater export potential,” said Curry.

Additional survey findings: 

  • 21% of employees in the sector identify as female, up from 18% in 2017.
  • There are skills shortages across programmers, artists, management, admin and marketing and producers. Often this is more experienced staff.
  • Brisbane was a growth city for video game development, with 20% of studios located there (up from 14% in 2017). Melbourne has the heaviest concentration of studios (33%), with Sydney comprising 17%.
  • Melbourne has the highest concentration of full-time employees (39%) followed by Sydney (23%), Brisbane (21%) and Adelaide (9%).

The report can be found at this link

Accompanying infographics can be found here and here

 

About IGEA

IGEA is an industry association representing the business and public policy interests of Australian and New Zealand companies in the computer and video games industry. IGEA’s members publish, develop, market and/or distribute interactive games and entertainment content and related hardware including mobile and handheld games. For more information, please visit www.igea.net.

 

About the survey

The Australian game development survey was an independent survey undertaken in 2019 for IGEA by Tim Thorpe, based in Wellington, New Zealand.

The independent survey was distributed online to the video game development industry through IGEA’s networks and social media marketing, a distribution list of over 390 Australian game development studios were emailed directly to participate in the survey, with a commitment to capture a diverse sample of responses, including Australia’s largest game development studios. The number of respondents increased by 25% over the last survey in 2017.

Sources

1 Brand, J. E., Jervis, J., Huggins P.M., Wilson, T. W. (2019). Digital Australia 2020 – The Power of Games. Eveleigh, NSW: IGEA.

[1] Anderton, K. The Business of Video Games Market Share for Gaming Platforms in 2019, Forbes

 

Media spokespeople:

To speak with Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA, or an Australian game development studio, please contact Natasha David from Espresso Communications on 02 8016 2200 or igea@espressocomms.com.au.

 

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