IGEA Update About The Arcade
The Arcade was established in 2013 to form a collaborative workspace for Melbourne game developers and creative companies. The goals of The Arcade were to foster an environment that allowed people to create, collaborate and co-operate while nurturing a diverse and inclusive community.
The Arcade has a very proud history. Many great games were made at The Arcade, many communities were formed, many skills were learned, many networks were established, and many studios that resided at The Arcade have expanded and are still creating amazing products. None of this could have been achieved without the generous support and assistance from Ross Symons of Big Ant and Creative Victoria, The Arcade staff and, of course, the residents of The Arcade.
Following a merger with the GDAA in early 2020, IGEA became responsible for managing The Arcade. Immediately after the merger Covid hit, lockdowns happened, work from home was mandated, and eventually, hybrid work became the order of the day. As this upheaval was happening, the landlord of the premises set about re-purposing the building.
On the back of these challenging circumstances, the lease expiration of the building and the uncertainty that the ongoing covid situation had created around work-spaces, The Arcade in Melbourne was forced to close its physical doors in 2022.
This provided an opportunity for the IGEA team to pause, regroup and examine how we can best meet the current needs and requirements of the local development sector.
IGEA has been working with members and Board to evolve the business model of The Arcade. Adhering to the IGEA pillars of Create, Educate, Advocate and Celebrate, the decision was taken to not immediately re-open a physical space but to direct our resources towards delivering programs and tools that meet the needs of the Australian video games sector, now and into the foreseeable future. For example, one of the biggest challenges currently faced by our members in accessing talent is the need for diverse people to enter and remain in our industry.
The Australian games industry has been on a significant growth trajectory, with even greater growth expected from numerous incentives being introduced.
Recently, some of the work coming out of the virtual Arcade has been directed toward industry development programs, addressing some of the talent issues. Not only do we have our signature events like GCAP and the IGEA Educates Summit, but we have also offered programs such as the S.M.A.R.T program and the SAE student program.
The S.M.A.R.T program was a collaboration with The Arcade and the City of Port Phillip which offered support and mentoring to early-career developer, creating an accessible entry point to our diverse game development community as well as financial assistance for marginalised or low-income game developers.
The SAE Student Program facilitated by The Arcade has connected students to the Victorian game development sector via specialised educational events, networking opportunities and bespoke feedback sessions in order to help them prepare for a successful career in game development.
IGEA is committed to delivering value for our members and abides by our mission statement “to be the backbone of an evolving, thriving, video games industry; one that inspires, captivates and allows for positive connections and exciting opportunities for all.”
Based on the successes of these targeted programs and a renewed focus on industry development, IGEA will develop similar and scalable projects to meet industry needs. This does not mean closing the door on The Arcade permanently, but taking the learnings and programs developed at The Arcade and applying them wherever they are needed most.