Recession? We don't appear to know the meaning of the word. The Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia has announced the local industry generated just a smidgeon under $2 billion last year. That's up a remarkable 47% on 2007. So-called "family games" were the biggest growth area, with GfK sales data showing the genre expanded 137% while G-rated games also grew well above the year's average. From all that, I think it's safe to say the Wii had a very good year.
Here's the full PR from the IEAA:
Buoyant Video and Computer Game Sales Nudge $2 Billion
-Family games drive record sales in 2008-
Sydney, 20 January, 2009 - Australia's video and computer game industry has shown no sign of an economic slowdown by recording its largest ever sales result of $1.96 billion for the calendar year - an increase of 47 per cent from 2007.
The statistics, compiled by independent market research group GfK Retail and Technology Australia, revealed that sales of 'Family Games' have grown by 137 per cent in 2008, making it the number one genre, followed by 'Action Games'.
Sales of games software in 2008 increased 57 per cent from the previous year, game consoles increased 43 per cent and gaming hardware accessories lifted a staggering 68 per cent.
According to Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, the results highlight the strength of Australia's video and computer gaming industry and that entire households are now engaging in interactive entertainment.
"Sales figures for the past two years actually show that the industry has grown over 112 per cent since 2006. The industry has really witnessed phenomenal growth, which has largely been driven by people playing games together."
'Family Games' were key to growth with the number of games classified with a G rating growing 58 per cent in 2008, and games rated PG showing a 33 per cent increase in the same period.
"There is a huge variety of games now on the market, with a wide selection for the entire family as well as specifically for adults, and it's a great way for people to spend time together."
Curry added that despite other business' experiencing the effects of a turbulent end to 2008, the increase in sales figures for the games industry demonstrated that interactive entertainment has become as mainstream in popularity, as watching television or surfing the net.
"We have definitely moved past the days of the stereotypical gamer", he said.
A recent research report by Bond University, titled Interactive Australia 2009, found that the average age of gamers is 30 years old and 68 per cent of all Australians play video and computer games.
*Retail sales figures by GfK sales data cover the period 31/12/07 to 28/12/08. IA9 report commissioned by IEAA was conducted by Bond University in October 2008.