It’s been a good year for Aussie games — Goose Game quite obviously — but for the scene as a whole, it’s been a solid year too.
The official figures from the political lobbyists for the video game industry in Australia, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, have revealed a solid jump in both the money made and the human size of local gaming. While the figures aren’t quite as complete as they should be, as noted by unofficial figures from local devs, it’s relatively consistent and a useful measure.
IGEA’s last industry survey in 2016-17, for instance, found the local industry was made up of 928 full-time equivalent employees. That figure has since jumped to 1,275 fulltime equivalents, a 37 percent increase since the last survey. IGEA’s release didn’t outline the main sources for the vast increase in the local numbers, but it’s worth noting that Wargaming Sydney and EA Firemonkeys weren’t included in the previous IGEA survey, two of the largest developers in the country.
The official figure doesn’t factor in part-time or contract staff. Studios that employ devs but aren’t considered as “game developers”, like Aristocrat Technologies which developers digital and casino games, aren’t included.
The income generated by the Australian industry has risen from $118.5 million in 2016-17 to $143.5 million, and more developers are making games for PC now as well. Development for VR and AR has jumped significantly, with 61 percent of respondents developing their own IP.
It’s still small potatoes compared to other countries — Canada, for instance, has around 48,000 workers in game dev with an annual revenue of around $4 billion. And the Australian contribution to the video game industry is minuscule, given the hundreds of billions the industry generates globally.
But an increase is still an increase, even though the figures are pretty much in line with the unofficial stats compiled by local devs last year. And the uptick in revenue helps studios fight the ongoing battle with government, namely that Australian studios are worthy of state and federal support.
“The local games industry is already making gains and contributing millions to the Australian economy; however, we continue to be excluded from federal government screen grants and tax offsets, despite telling Australian screen stories and also having a much greater export potential,” Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA, said.