Australian spent a total of $1.161 billion on video games during 2012, a number that represents a 23 per cent contraction in the market locally but, despite this, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA) remains confident that the Australian industry as a whole, inclusive of digital spending, is continuing to grow.
“As Australians consume video games across a broader range of mediums, it’s becoming harder to get a true indication of the value of the industry via a single source," explains Ron Curry, CEO of the iGEA. "While there is a decline in traditional sales, the gaming industry as a whole remains buoyant as people shift towards a ‘hybrid’ model in their consumption of interactive entertainment."
The problem, when trying to convince others that the Australian industry is growing, is the lack of hard numerical evidence but local technology analysts at Telsyte estimate that digital spending will increase by 18 per cent during 2013 to $730 million. A decent increase on the estimated $620 million in 2012.
"The growth in digital gaming is driven by mobile app gaming on smartphones and tablets, which is offsetting the decline in physical purchases and even pushing the overall games market into growth," said Sam Yip, Senior Research Manager for Telsyte.
Ron Curry also pointed to the end of the console cycle as another legitimate reason why physical sales are in decline.
"[T]he figures released by NPD show a drop in physical sales due in part to the ageing gaming consoles, a trend we saw back in 2005 at the end of the last console cycle," he said.
Consumers are moving towards digital, and the decline in physical sales is most likely offset by that, but this won't be of any consolation to local retailers. 2012 saw GAME — Australia's number 2 specialist games retailer — go into liquidation, if 2013 continues along a similar trend of contraction specialist retailers will continue to struggle.