Australian game industry an under-appreciated gem

The Australian video game development industry continues to flourish, despite a lack of support from the federal government, a survey of local game developers has shown.

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), says the Australian game development industry generated $118.5 million in the 2016-17 financial year, with three-quarters of the studios surveyed projecting growth. To be realistic that’s a small slice of a $100 billion global industry, but it’s one achieved in the face of absolutely no support and a against a backdrop where there are very attractive overseas opportunities for our local talent.

However it is a growing industry. It generates the lion’s share of its income in sales overseas. And it sits solidly in the centre of the knowledge economy by anyone’s standards. As IGEA’s head points out:

Already, 80 per cent of the income generated by Australian developers comes from overseas sources. The local industry is making gains and contributing millions to the Australian economy – imagine how much more could be achieved if the government acknowledged us.

Asked about the main challenges facing their industry, half of respondents considered the lack of government funding as stressful or very stressful. Only seven per cent said it was not a problem. At least three government committees have recommended providing more support to the local games industry, but as yet the Government has completely ignored the recommendations.

The Survey also revealed a couple of interesting little facts. First Melbourne is smashing Sydney as a place to work in games. Melbourne has the heaviest concentration of studios (36%), followed by Sydney (21%), Brisbane (14%), and Canberra (9%). Secondly only 18% of employees in the sector identify as female – so there’s still work to be done there.

Overall the IGEA survey drives home what was already obvious, the game industry is one with a huge potential in all the right ways and which is making strides in spite of a lack of recognition and support. So perhaps it ought to get some recognition and support.

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