Melbourne Developer Ends Transmission

Melbourne Developer Ends Transmission

Transmission Games, the Melbourne studio responsible for the recent Ashes Cricket 2009, Heroes Over The Pacific, Heroes Over Europe and a number of AFL games, has closed down, Kotaku has heard.

Transmission recently laid off a third of its staff after failing to secure several lucrative publishing deals. Today, the entire studio has shut its doors with the remaining staff made redundant.

We’ve heard that the studio went into liquidation this morning and an administrator has been appointed. However, no official statement has been forthcoming.

Any studios in Melbourne looking to hire, there’s now a bunch of talented developers looking for a new gig.


  • It’s sometime hard to deal in the realm of gaming market. The fact is, their games weren’t really that enticing to begin with. The graphics are sub-par, and it’s only marketed toward australian.
    Because of that, it is not surprising the studio will flop.

  • What effect will this have on Ashes ’09 patch they are working on? From what I’ve read on the planetcricket forums it improves game play quite a bit.

  • This is absolutely horrible news for the Australian game development industry and everyone involved at Transmission Games.

  • Yeah pretty bad stuff. I hope everyone manages to find placements elsewhere it’s really tough out there at the moment, and that was before the market got saturated with like ~50 out of work devs. 😮

  • Im sadden by this news and i hope everyone finds the next step in their career very soon. But it pisses me off that not much is out there to help this industry. The government needs to step in and help save the industry – tax breaks, better incentives and support etc. The GDAA needs to get its act together and stop gloating about how great the industry in australia is and wake up to realise that everything is not peachy and that companies in australia are finding it hard to secure contracts in australia. Game companies is australia also need to smarten up in how they run their productions and management. If something doesn’t happen soon theres going to be a hell of a lot of other devs closing their doors or worse… no games industry existing in australia.

    • If the gaming industry can’t thrive without Government support then it shouldn’t exist at all.

      Not only is protectionism inefficient, shouldn’t we ask ourselves; does it matter if the industry dies out? It’ll just mean skilled developers will go overseas and work for foreign companies.

      What benefit would we get from games developed within Australia? Costs for the consumer will still remain the same regardless of where the game is developed, making the defence from a financial stand point redundant. And don’t even think about bringing up the loss of culture; Australia has never been the purveyor of video games, nor the bringer of new styles or genres. It is a global industry, so why must we specifically demand that Australian developers develop games about Australia?

      While it is good that there is a games industry in Australia, it does not require Government assistance. Even if the consequence is its extinction, it’s not as severe as people seem to fear. Hence why the Government prioritizes on industries such as PMV or textiles, as from a national perspective they are simply far more important.

      • Sorry Cameron, but i like living and working in australia. I shouldnt have to go overseas to get a job in the games industry 🙂

        As for your comment about the games industry shouldn’t exist in aust if it needs government support… well then if that was the case to every industry that needs/uses the government to support them then there will be no industries of any sort existing in australia because alot of them do have some sort of government help/support them. Example the film/tv industry…..

    • Too right… There’s just no nation-wide approach to this problem of no strong grounding for the games industry in Australia, just almost a battle of the states, but a pathetic one at it too.

      Reality is… USA, Canada, Singapore, France, Japan & other games industry supporting nations is where Aussies may go for their job searches…

      Just when you think slow and expensive internet for Australia is bad…. the gaming industry in Australia is just as bad… geez… what fun…

  • “Who the hell screwed them out of their publishing deals?”

    Ah, I imagine the a**hole who leaked the confidential e-mails to this very website wouldn’t have helped, and this very website for publishing said article can feel proud that they had a hand in TG’s inability to secure said deals as well. Nice one guys.

    • Yep, whomever leaked that e-mail has helped screw over an awful lot of people. Hope they’re pleased.

      As for Kotaku, at least they had the decency to edit the damaging details out of the article upon request – other games industry focused sites can’t claim the same…

      • You can’t blame the leak of an email for the demise of Transmission Games. The blame lies with the senior management and producers that allowed Heroes Over Europe to overrun by a couple of years and several million dollars. Combine this with a poor management team that constantly failed to sign up any new projects and it is a miracle they lasted so long.

  • The Oz dollar is too strong for overseas companies to produce here. Similar to Green Lantern film we will lose a lot of production here. Rudd sucks!!!

    • MY nerd shit gets fucked with so I blame some guy who has little to no control over what is essentially a complex, globally balanced network! I hate that guy! Why won’t he magic my nerd shit into my face?!
      Fuck off. This is the real post. Just. Fuck. Off. Instead of blaming the guy who is the media rep for the government for problems that simply can’t be put down to a single person or group, learn a little about politics. Or economics. Or how to dress yourself.

  • That really sucks. I did some testing for them a few years ago. They had some talented people working for them. Well wishing sentiments… y’know the deal.

  • To the person who leaked confidential company info back at the last round of redundancies – I hope you sleep well tonight. You just put the final nail in the coffin. Hoping to find out who you are one day!

  • Shit, another one down.

    Best of luck to you guys finding work. I know all to well how tough the games job market is at the moment.

  • This is sad news, I’m a big fan of Ashes 2009. Thing is, they were working on a patch for the game, which really helps it into a better game. I have the beta patch for PC, but it would be nice for the console players to use the new patch. online play is disabled in the beta patch too, which is a minus for me. Anyway, mey question is do you think that this will stop work on the patch, do you think it will get released still? I agree, it is a sad day for aussie development

  • Transmission Games…. What can I say.

    All you really need to do is play AFL Challenge and then people will relies why it gone, My personal favorite bit of the game is the Grand stand that hold no more than 20 people :0.

    Next up there is Ashes Cricket, Personally after playing a full Test match and a unfinished online match due to Live issues it quiet understand why there shutdown, the only positive I could find in the game was Share Warne as a cricket commenter. Hell it beats listening to Tony Greig

  • Well… this seems to be another nail in the Aus games developers coffin. first a bunch of bris developers, now melbourne… it’s already hard enough to find a job. tough times for all of us really.

  • If developers can do it better overseas, why do we need a games industry in Australia? Government subsidisation of related industries such as the Australian publishing and film industries are often justified on the basis of cultural import. I don’t believe that justification carries much weight for any industry. When you apply it to the videogame industry in Australia though, you’ll find yourself drawing a really long bow. What uniquely Australian cultural import does de Blob, Bioshock or LA Noir have?

  • For all those people slagging off the Australian games industry. Shame on you! The Australian game industry does not deserve to die and to shrug your shoulders and tell people to go work overseas is totally unacceptable.

    Why should Australians think that their only option is to work overseas? I think Australians are entitled to believe that they can get jobs here at home, without having to leave their families and friends behind.

    The fact of the matter is that we live in a world of protectionism. The Australian games industry is at a disadvantage at the moment just like the British games industry and it is costing jobs.

    It is the responsibility of the government to protect people in its care and protect jobs. If there are tax breaks in countries like Canada the Australian government should follow suit. To not do so is a dereliction of duty.

    Also while you are all stand on your soap boxes sounding all big and clever. Please take some time to think of those families and people out there who now find themselves having to find jobs and pay mortgages. Having been there myself its the worst feeling in the world. Good luck to you all.

    • Here bloody here MajorTom. All these elitist dickheads commenting that we don’t need a video games industry. People were saying that of the film industry in the 60’s and 70’s and thank god no-one listened to them or you could say goodbye to every Australian made classic film. We need a games industry here to keep the wealth of creative talent here. Stop them going overseas, keep them at home, keep them making great games (whether Australian specific or not) and help them create a strong industry just like we did with film.

    • Seeing as I’m the only ‘elitist dickhead’ that has been ‘slagging off’ the Australian gaming industry here, I’ll just go ahead and defend myself.

      People need to stop thinking about themselves and whatever surrounds them. There is bountiful evidence as to not why the the Government shouldn’t support the gaming industry, but why other industries are rightfully prioritized ahead of it.

      Just consider the basic economic fact alone. The gaming industry represents a pitiful percentage of national GDP and employment, while other industries such as PMV and textiles carry far more weight. Hence why they are protected, for their loss is a far greater burden to the economy.

      But why should we support protectionism anyway? It is the embodiment of human selfishness; the poison that is draining the world of reaching its true potential. In essence all protectionism provides is the support to less skilled people to compete with those who are more so. This is unjust; should an Australian being given benefits to a job that is handled better by someone else simply because they are Australian? Shouldn’t it be decided on something such as, I don’t know, merit? It not only creates a spiral where countries throw away money at each other in an effort to ‘protect jobs’, it simply gives those in power an advantage as they can afford to give more protection to their citizens. Australia, one of the leading advocates of free trade should not commit itself to any more protectionist measures then is demanded.

      And so what if jobs are lost in the gaming industry suffer? Shit happens everywhere. Don’t think you’re benevolent by defending those whose jobs have been lost in the Australian gaming industry. There are far worse losses happening not only within Australia but outside it. Problems in which the Government should and are prioritizing, far ahead from self-damaging policies such as protectionism of the small gaming industry we have.

      Being gamers, we naturally demand the protection of the gaming industry ahead of others simply because they are the one who supplies the video games we play. People need to get past their selfish, greedy desires and consider what is truly best for society as a whole. I stand by what I say; that is that if the Australian gaming industry can’t stand on its own two feet, then it shouldn’t.

      • 1) Providing a home and food for your family is not imo a selfish pursuit. Loosing your job is a little more than “shit happens”

        2) I’m not sure what you mean by this all being a matter of prioritisation. Textiles have nothing to do with the games industry. Your argument makes no sense. There is a government minister who deals with ( among other things ) the games industry, I don’t believe he/she is having to make some sort of decision between giving tax breaks to the games industry or the textile industry O.o

        3) Australia currently operates under a competitive disadvantage. This is why Canada is now the place to make games. It has very little to do with creative talent there vs here. It’s to do with tax breaks and other government intensives

        • 1) It’s not. But if you’re using tax payer’s money to achieve that goal where it could instead be going into areas which are more important, like humanitarian aid for an example.

          2) While they’re not related, there is only finite money that the Government can spend through tax breaks or subsidies. Which is why I bring the point that more vital industries to the economy, such as textiles, will be given prioritization for these tax breaks or subsidies before smaller industries such as the gaming industry.

          3) Didn’t I mention the spiral thing? If we balance out Canada’s tax breaks and Government incentives with our own then they’ll simply slap on a few more to create that disparity between countries again. Then we follow suit. And so on. That is why and I’ll say it again; protectionism is evil, a terrible waste of money and everyone loses out some way or another.

          Really, it’s pretty obvious that the gaming industry is insanely risky. If people aren’t prepared for the hardships such as possible unemployment, then they should have chosen a more secure career path.

      • The Games Industry in Victoria does receive support from the Victorian Government which is why just over 40% are there! The other 40% are in the Queensland, drawn there by State Government support. There is not the same support by the Australian Federal Government, and they should be doing, for a number of reasons.

        Firstly, the games industry is an industry which drives technological innovation. Not only are they leading R & D but the knowledge, skills and tools they use filter out to other industries and up-skill a mobile workforce. Simulation, medical and architectural visualisation, education and training are all trying to harness immersive real-time technologies, not to mention the hardware advances pushed by the latest games.

        Secondly, the Creative Digital Industries in Australia are worth over $22 billion – and that’s a figure from 2005. PWC predicts that by 2013, the global games industry will be worth over three times the recorded music industry. The games industry at the moment is a tiny proportion of that – maybe $200 million this year, but it has the potential to rival our dwindling textiles industry within 10 years.

        Thirdly, the games industry is just like the film, music and book/literature (?) industry in that they tell our stories, experiences and record our lives. Games are a part of that. Sure we haven’t yet seen the equivalent of Crocodile Dundee or The Castle, but without an industry, you never will.

        Fourthly, the industry is only going to get bigger but it needs momentum to get really going. It needs the critic mass of developers- some of whom will fail – and their staff will be hired by those succeeding and growing larger. They should not be lost to Australia and have to go overseas to find work. So far the local industry is well on the way to getting to this critical mass they need to go it alone but they’re up against really forward-thinking nations who are supporting their industries in such a big way that it’s making it very difficult to compete and attract other developers and investors here.

        At the end of the day, the power is yours – the Government is voted in by you. They support all sorts of industries where there is potential for growth. They support the things you value: is one of those Australian- developed games?

      • Just to weigh in on the “anti-protectionism” argument, while in theory such arguments make sense, unfortunately, this is reality.

        It can easily be argued that subsidising certain industries brings more benefit than cost when such subsidies help keep profits, jobs and talent in Australia.

        Profits and jobs in Australia mean they’ll be spending that cash on other Australian industries, and keeping the smart guys in Australia surely requires no argument – but these are the guys that more than pull their weight in our economy, and help to attract more of the smart guys to Australia.

        Comparable “protected” industries – cars, manufacturing and textiles – are probably less worthy of government assistance – and being labour intensive, always a losing battle. But these industries seem to be more “politically sensitive”, so the games industry loses out.

        You’ve got a tough argument, Cameron, to say that up and coming high tech industries like game development is less worthy than a labour intensive textiles industry that will never stand on its own without government help.

  • I can see where Cameron is coming from in his argument. Taking the ‘wider view’ of the economic effects of protectionist trade systems does highlight the pros and cons, of which Cameron has highlighted many negatives.

    But economics is a strange beast. There are as many opinions about it as there are (qualified) economists.

    Strict economists might lean toward a more open market, with as little regulation or outside control as necessary. The basis for such an argument could generally be said to be that by allowing market forces to determine what gets produced where, and who gets to have it, allows for :
    1) those who are best able to make a product to make it
    2) those who make the best products get the best prices
    3) those who deserve (e.i. are rich enough) to have the product will get to have it.

    But while the efficient market side is often touted as the model of performance, the recent trouble in the global economy can show us that some regulation and outside interference can be beneficial.

    Taking a more humane view, it is completely understandable for people to want their governments to help them keep their jobs. And it is unfortunate that game developers and others within the game industry in Australia either have a harder time of it, or they decide to work overseas. Ideally, we could have it both ways where the industry in Australia could sustain itself with little or no assistance, keeping local developers here without distorting the market too much. But not many governments (and so far on this forum I’ve only noted about half a dozen) actively support the games industry – like Cameron says, often it’s just too small.

    I’m not saying it’s not unfortunate that Transmission has closed, or that I’m an expert in economics of business. But trolling forums and assigning blame to governments or other people is at best uninformed, and at worst antagonistic.

    IMHO only.

  • I call shenanigans.

    Come on guys, …life’s not a Grisham novel. There’s RARELY a single dramatically satisfying explanation for this stuff.

    Entirely blaming a leak (no doubt it did real damage) on the collapse of a (supposed) factory of world-class awesomeness is a bit silly. So’s too much reliance on that nasty old Global Financial Crisis.

    Freelancing with these guys and my friendships with 10 mid/long term staff leads me to blame one simple thing as the main culprit.

    It’s what gets many Melbourne developers into trouble.

    Comedically bad management.

    If I go into details then we get into one of those irritating “X was the worst sociopath I’ve ever worked with” / “I thought he was awesome and at least they paid on time” back and forths.

    So, instead, in short and in my passionately held opinion (honestly…I REALLY believe this) Transmission had more inept, game-hating, ego-maniacal, nepotism-monkey, management-coward shut-ins than pre-Krome Melbourne House at its worst.

    In both production and support (their HR…Jesus wept!) it was an endless series of direction-changing, responsibility-dodging, bad-decision-making spastic flailing (unless you were lucky enough to be on a mid-sized project that wasn’t quite big enough to attract the attention of the glory-whores, or small enough to get reamed of vital resources by the number-faking higher ups).

    The quote at the end of the article should read “Any studios in Melbourne looking to hire, there’s now a bunch of talented developers looking for a new gig. And some really, really bad managers, senior staff and department heads, who will undoubtedly land on their feet almost instantly.”

    And guys, before you get really angry at my contribution (I’m particularly talking to you Ayn Rand fans) please bear in mind that it is possible to love something while hating its faults.

  • I just came through Trickstar Games and I found that it’s a new version of Transmission Games. Many of the staff are from Transmission Games :).

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