According to figures released by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, 2014 was a huge year for the Australian games industry, bolstered by the release of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, supported by the continued growth of digital games.
Annual sales across the industry increased by 20% at $2.46 billion.
Hardware sales made up a majority of that increase. Console sales in particular were up 47% from 2013. 2013's numbers were similarly bolstered by the late release of of both consoles in November: it's becoming increasingly clear that both consoles are selling in large numbers post-launch. Both consoles continue to shift record numbers, a solid sign that video games remain a growth industry here in Australia. Consumers are still interested in buying traditional consoles at retail.
As a result of these numbers, brick-and-mortar retail also saw strong year-on-year growth, going against previous trends. That growth was more conservative — a 7% increase — most likely held back by a decline in retail software sales. Those were down 5.6%, although the IGEA were keen to note that the decline was offset by software growth across all new current gen platforms like the 3DS and the Wii U. It's possible the decline may be the result of a transition from Xbox 360/PS3 to Xbox One/PS4. Previous generation consoles still making up a significant chunk of software sales in Australia, and those are obviously decreasing with the release of new consoles.
Digital game sales were also a huge driver of 2014's success, with a sales increase of 39% year on year. The mobile market saw a particularly large year-on-year increase at 56%, with sales exceeding over 700 million. Interestingly, sales of Minecraft grew dramatically throughout 2014, doubling its sales and revenue.
The research was conducted by NPD Group Australia.
"The Australian video games industry is in great shape, led by next gen launches and growth in digital, according to our latest research. Platform holders, publishers and developers continue to see strong demand for their products and are positioning the industry for further growth into the future," said IGEA’s CEO Ron Curry.
"Hardware sales pushed the industry forward in 2014. Bricks and Mortar retailers have seen a boost in demand for the current generation consoles which in turn has led to an increase in demand for new console software and accessories and items such as game cards. The tremendous growth in digital sales shows that publishers and developers are effectively catering to the purchasing habits of an increasingly connected customer base."
Overall it's been a great year of recovery for the Australian games industry after a 23% contraction in 2012 and a more conservative year in 2013. All signs point to an increased growth in both software sales at retail as the consumer base transitions to new hardware in the Xbox One and PS4.