Can Australia Become A Top 3 Game Development Country In 5 Years?

Tony Reed, CEO of the Game Developers Association of Australia certainly thinks so. We spoke to Tony Reed a while back about R & D Tax Reform and how it could kickstart the Australian Games Industry, but speaking to Gamespot he reaffirmed his belief that Australia can grow rapidly in the near future.

"Our goal at the GDAA is to prepare Australia to become one of the top three territories in the world for game development within the next five years," claimed Tony. "I think this can be achieved; the industry is doing really great right now and we seem to have gone back to our roots in generating amazing content."

Despite some setbacks, there has been a lot to shout about in the local games industry, and with R & D Tax Reform designed to favour game development on a small to medium scale - and help those involved in contract work - the future is looking bright.

Australia to become top game development territory in five years: Reed [Gamespot]


    In one word...


    There is no way with the Australian dollar so strong and rent prices so high. The costs are just too much. I also see the depth of talent being an issue (but less of an issue).

    If this were to happen, it would have to happen somewhere other than the eastern states. This may be possible with the introduction of the NBN and the push to move data centers to more geographically secure locations. The government would also have to heavily subsidise the industry which is not out of the question - they did this to bring EDS to South Australia.

    If it was possible via government and big business assistance to provide venture capital and also the possibility of home grown publishing firms, we could build up our local industry.

    Without that, things will stay the way we are, next to countries like India and China, that have next to no internationally recognised development. We are seen as, and have been seen as, cheap outsourcing, but expensive studio developers by the people that unfortunately matter because they have the money.

    If it was OUR money, and we could finally get some decent management in charge of studios we could build better.

    So assuming the US and Japan are the top two, who is the current third we need to kick out?

      Canada would be right up there, everyone has a big studio there (Montreal). That would probably make them #1 or 2 with the US taking the other spot. Japan might be 3rd.

      Canada? Eastern Europe seems to be doing well with their gaming industry as well.

        I'd go with all of Europe for third.

        Considering Batman Arkham City & Battlefield 3 are on the horizon and are both developed by European studios, saying Australia could be top three after one recent game success (with a side order of bad press) is hyperbole.

        But hey, without optimism, they're less likely to be successful.

          Europe is a country now? That's news to me.

          Sweden, France and Germany individually have larger game dev scenes than Australia. That's not even including the up and coming players like Poland.

      I'd guess (as far as market share goes):

      1. US
      2. Japan
      3. UK
      4. Canada

        It'll depend a lot on how you decide where a game is "from", and what you're ranking. Total income from games developed in that country? Number of games? Number of units sold regardless of cost? Profits? What about games that are co-developed by multiple studios in different locations, eg Bioshock which was a US/Australia co-production?

        Mobile games wise, Australia is possibly already in the top ten. As far as big-budget console games go, the only recent one is LA Noire and with the stories that have been coming out of Team Bondi recently it sounds like that was hardly a shining example of Australian development. Portables are a different market too, and the online space is separate again.

        I could totally see Australia becoming a big country in mobile / online games development, but as long as the big console publishers are US/UK/Japan based, those countries are always going to see the lion's share of the actual profits in the end.

      Its Canada.

    yeah, we really need home grown publisihing, because even with this tax break for small to med development, it's still expensive and geographically illogical for overseas publishers to invest in aussie devs. This is still great news tho.

      Tru Blu Games are trying. Unfortunately, being an Australian publisher kind of limits your potential for growth and profit so try as they might they just have to wait until people buy enough AFL and Rugby games before they can invest more in local developers.

    I've always dreamed of being involved in a big game development project in my own country, but thanks to the aftermath of the global financial crisis, that's currently impossible.

    It seems that funding for this industry is pretty reliant on grants from larger studios, and thanks to Australia's high dollar, that makes this country an bad choice for publishers investments.

    If the GDAA are serious, they need to create a financial alternative to the typical development structure so our studios are able to chase more ambitious ideas.

    I'd put Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Britain and Canada in the top 7 but the USA and Japan would definitely be on top. China might be a late inclusion too. Australia MIGHT be in the top ten already. But I'm basing that on gut feelings rather then on anything solid. A good way to get a gauge for this would be to look at the game dev map (google it). Unfortunately though, this doesn't cover a lot of the outsourcing companies which are what make the developing economies very competitive. They may not be producing entire AAA titles all the time but they've got their fingers in a lot more pies then you'd assume. I don't completely disagree with Tony but China, Ukraine and Russia have plenty of room to grow and will be stout competition even with massive tax breaks. Of course, we can always use their resources to help us offload some of the cost. A few studios / indie teams do this already.

    He obviously hasn't tried looking for a job in the Aus games industry lately. no chance in hell we'll be above Canada/US/UK/Japan in the next 10 years let alone 5.

    All our talent is going overseas because there are simply no jobs available here.


      I dont think people realise how hard it is to get into the game industry AND keep your job there.

      Ive know of several game dev's who are either no longer in the industry or are moving over seas because of how unstable the industry is

    We can't even get an adult's classification for Video Games. What makes anyone think we can actually become a world leader in the industry?

      Seconded. I'm hoping for change this month, but I've been with the movement since Nineteen-fucking-Ninety-THREE.

      The year when government went "okay, R18 and X18" and some dickheaded pollies yelled "NO! Kids'll get it!" "Okay, remove those.". HYPER>> #2 reported on it, and is evidence of control/censorship issues from day one.

    As NegativeZero mentioned above, it depends what you're measuring, but assuming "Becoming a Top 3 Game Development Country" has something to do with revenue or profits, the local mobile gaming market is surely somewhere Australia will explode in the next 5 years.

    Sorry to disappoint everyone who thought that'd mean we'd have some kind of massive influx of "AAA Console Game" development happening.

    If Game companies could afford to do IP games, maybe, but at the moment we've got 2. De Blob and Puzzle Quest. Speaking of puzzle Quest, they've sacked most of their staff.
    I don't think that the creative abilities of us Aussies is a problem, it's the funding in general.
    At the moment, most companies are just working on games from other publishers.
    They don't own the game and they have no control.

      And rumour has it that Blue Tongue laid-off a bunch of quality staff in the last month... So much for De Blob.

      There are still some great titles being worked on by smaller developers, but they don't ease the demand for jobs because they require so few people (being on small budgets), and everything is done on short contracts. If you have a mortgage and family to feed it's not easy to live on short contracts.

      The Australian Industry has never been in worse shape. I wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel but it's looking pretty dark from my position.

    haha there is no friggin' way that is going to happen

    i had to move overseas to continue working in this industry cause the one back home died miserably

    150,000,000% not a chance

    This guy's delusional
    1) US (needs no explanation)
    2) Japan (ditto)
    3) Canada (Bioware, Relic + EA/Rockstar/Ubisoft branches)
    4) UK (Rocksteady, Lionhead, etc)
    5) Sweden (DICE, Avalanche)

    Then there's the Eastern European scene that's moving in leaps and bounds eg Poland.

    Even in the mobile gaming sector, there's Finland (Rovio) that's ahead of us, along with US again (PopCap)

    As much as I'd love for there to be a bigger dev scene in Australia, it's just unrealistic. Our dollar is too strong, our talent is going overseas, and our internet infrastructure and classification systems are behind the competition's.

    Unfortunately it's falling by the wayside of the Australian movie industry; that is, all our talent is being shipped overseas.

    Which is a shame, because we always seem to bring some really unique talent in the entertainment industry.

    In 5 years. Absolutely.

    It is too easy to see the huge challenges the Australian industry faces at the moment (high Aussie dollar, shipping talent overseas, studio closes etc) and dismiss the potential of our current position.

    1. Most of the industry got fired/retrenched in the last year or two. My sincere sympathies if that included you. But many of you didn't stay fired. There were limited jobs in Australia, so you started your own ventures. Instead of continuing to ship the profit overseas, these companies will retain profit in Aus and grow in the 2-3 years. Those that survive this cull will leave proven talent to run the next decade of development.

    2. App store. For ~30% of the turnover, Apple/Google(/Steam?) will distribute your game. Worldwide. You don't need to assign your IP to a label or spend hundreds of thousands to get your finished game to market. Aussie developers aren't limited to our relatively small consumer market any more.

    3. It costs a lot to sell a polished AAA title. Unless you spend a lot the game will flop. But it costs very little to sell a game that is FUN. If the game is fun, it will sell even when you don't spend bazillions on marketing. Aussie devs have learnt this lesson the hard way. Over the next 5 years that lesson will pay off.

    4. Australia produces amazing talent. Yes, we currently export most of it overseas. But our universities and specialist colleges are churning out high quality grads to meet a growing international market. Rather than shrinking with the local market, they are expanding to meet the international market (Australia is great at exporting education).

    5. NBN. With decent internet you can develop a game anywhere, and all else being equal, Australia is an awesome place to live.

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