With government support, Australia’s gaming industry is blooming


The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) reports that the size of the Australian video games market has almost doubled over the previous six years. This data is from the sixth annual Australian Game Development Survey (AGDS), an annual study done by the IGEA that examines the whole industry.

The fact that 770 new jobs have been added to the Australian games sector just in the last year is one of the survey’s most important findings. Additionally, since the initial poll in 2016, the industry has witnessed a 148 percent growth in revenue.

Other significant findings from the report, which you can read in full on the IGEA website, include the $284.4 million in revenue that Australian game development studios generated in 2021–2022, which represents a 26% increase over the prior year (84% of the revenue came from sources outside of Australia, though), the 2104 full-time employees that these studios employ, which represents a 59% increase over the prior year, the 69% of studios that are planning to hire new employees in 2022–2033, which is estimated to be 300+ new hires, as well as the 85% of respondents that said they were creating their own intellectual property.

“The growth in revenue, employment and confidence in the local game development sector is fantastic. Businesses are maturing, studios are performing well, development teams are expanding and international companies and investors are taking notice of Australia,” said Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA. “State and federal governments are recognising the positive impact the local games industry has on the economy and are supporting the sector with tangible benefits such as the Federal Government’s Digital Games Tax Offset (DGTO),” he added.

Since 2020, both the gambling and the internet gaming sectors have flourished in Australia, which is regarded as an epicenter for both. Less than $3.2 billion was being made by the gaming industry in 2019, but that amount increased to $3.4 billion by 2021. People are increasingly using cryptocurrencies as well as traditional currency to play blackjack online in Australia, buy games, and wager on sporting events as digital gaming becomes more and more popular.

Significant cultural impact

When video games are discussed as having cultural significance in Australia, that worth is often determined by how much revenue they generate or how many job offerings they generate. However, the careers of many video game creators serve as excellent illustrations of why video game production cannot be viewed as an art form based just on how much money it generates.

Video game developers, like musicians, painters, authors, and all other creatives, hone their craft by ongoing experimenting and following the latest tech and gaming trends, with only a select few projects ever becoming anything that will be seen by the general public.

Following the damage of the 2008 global financial crisis, Australia’s video game sector has been rebuilt precisely through this sort of practice-driven work. Australia’s video game sector reached its lowest point in the early 2010s as a result of widespread studio closures, job losses, and the Abbott government’s decision to abolish the Australian Interactive Games Fund.

Despite this, game developers started to resurrect a robust national industry on the shoulders of primarily small, independent companies; as a result, Australian games are now frequently met with critical praise worldwide. State and federal governments have increased financing and tax breaks, and cultural organizations like the National Film and Sound Archive, Sydney’s Powerhouse, and Acmi in Melbourne take video games seriously as works of art. Slowly, the nation has caught up.

Games were mentioned in the Albanese government’s new national cultural strategy, Revive, which is an enormously significant milestone and a blatant indication that games are being acknowledged as significantly contributing to Australian culture. The Australian Interactive Games Fund, which Abbott eliminated, will be reinstated under the country’s first national cultural strategy in ten years, which also promises increased funding for all forms of the arts, including video games.

However, Revive’s wording is telling. According to the research, games are significant because they “grow the economic contribution of Australia’s creative industries” and because they have the potential to introduce new audiences to more established art forms like classical music. This illustrates the dated and constrained manner in which games are seen. The complicated ways in which games are itself an important art form and developed by creators who are themselves artists remain ignored, despite their obvious commercial viability and intrinsic young coolness.

Major challenges ahead

The three main issues affecting the sector are also identified in the IGEA survey.  Finding people with specialized expertise is the first step, with engineers and programmers having the highest demand.

The second is drawing early-stage development money, and with the expansion of state government financing for game development in Australia, things may become better.

The third, however, is a lack of suitable state/territorial government financing, which implies that the rest of the nation might benefit from learning from the experiences of VicScreen, the Victorian Government’s creative and economic screen development agency, and Screen Queensland, the Queensland Government-owned agency dedicated to growing a successful screen industry in the state.

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