The Future Of The Australian Games Industry Is Being Discussed Today

Back in June last year Senator Scott Ludlum secured an inquiry into the state of the Australian games industry and how the government could help support its growth.

That resulted in a large amount of submissions and suggested solutions.

Today, at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Melbourne the committee is discussing these proposed solutions with some of the major players in the Australian games industry.

[Pic via Ben Britten Smith]

The discussion is taking place right now (you can listen here). Tony Reed, the CEO of the Games Development Association Of Australia, is in attendance, alongside Giselle Rosman of Hipster Whale and Ben Britten Smith, the Technical Director at Mighty Games.

Dr. Dan Golding, the Director of Freeplay and frequent Kotaku contributor, is scheduled to address the committee at 10.45am. A representative from Swinburne University of Technology is scheduled to speak at 11.30am and there's a panel section featuring developers from Black Delta, Mighty Games Group, Tin Man Games and Well Placed Cactus.

So far the committee seems receptive to the idea of investment in video games in general (with one committee member confessing she plays a lot of Crossy Road — "the logs always get me"). Some concerns were raised by the committee with regards to the lack of diversity in the local industry. At last count only 8.7% of game developers employed in the Australian Games Industry were women. All agreed that was a problem that required fixing. Giselle Rosman spoke to the brain drain the Australian industry suffered as a result of the global financial crisis and the impact that had locally.

There's also discussion around government funding and what those potential funding systems would look like.

It's too early to estimate the impact this inquiry will have, and what the end result will be, but it is heartening to see these issues being discussed with people who have the power to possibly make things happen. The Australian government scrapped its $20 million strong Interactive Media Fund with absolutely zero consultation with the local games industry. In that respect, the existence of this committee feels like a step forward.


    In that respect, the existence of this committee feels like a step forward.

    Don't be surprised to see the recommendations pretty much come in the form of 'reinstate the fund', which the Government will do - at a level far below the $20m it once was - and then tout it as part of its 'Innovation' agenda.

    Edit: original text read "It's not a step forward - but it's a step back to where we were originally." but I think we're pretty much saying the same thing :P

    Last edited 19/02/16 11:56 am

    At last count only 8.7% of game developers employed in the Australian Games Industry were women. All agreed that was a problem that required fixing.

    This is not a problem. We should not force women to work in the industry. If they want to join, sure go ahead. But, we should not create quota's or force women to join the games industry.

      I think they mean to address it but discovering why that is the case. If it's because they don't want to work in the industry, why is that? If it's because they are uncomfortable when they do get a position and move to another industry instead. Why is that the case? Quota's are reverse discrimination and not a fix. Tony & Giselle et. al are smarter than that. They will be looking for solutions to the underlying issues that cause this, not knee-jerk regulatory "fixes".

      Lack of diversity is a problem. Women generally speaking can do some things better than men. In computing, studies have shown they often better at writing high quality code, communicating with their peers and finding alternative solutions to problems. We want more women in computing.

      "Force" was not mentioned and I doubt anyone intends to "force" women to develop games. The words you're looking for are "encourage" and "incentivize".

        I hope you're not referring to that unscientific github study they attempted for you basis on women being better at writing high-quality code, if not do you have a source you're specifically referencing?

        Regarding women in workplace, my current course(Digital Media(Games)) is about 2/10 split whilst my part-time retail job(Telstra) is 50/50. The industry just may not be appealing though science and engineering I see in class have many more women.

          But if the reason it's unappealing is because of social pressures pushing women and men into certain career paths, that's something that can be addressed. If there is a bro-force attitude in certain industries that makes women uncomfortable or unwelcome (and I'm reasonably sure that gaming is one of those industries), that can be addressed too.

          Simply saying, "women must not want it or they'd have it" is way too reductionist.

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