Aussie Video Game Developers Are Doing Alright In The Pandemic After All

Aussie Video Game Developers Are Doing Alright In The Pandemic After All
Image: Wario (from 2003's Wario World)

The Australian video games industry is thriving amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to results from the latest Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) survey.

According to the results, made up of responses from 52 different developers, a majority of Australian studios are faring well despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, with many citing increased (or at least stable) revenue and more employment opportunities for home-grown talent.

“IGEA’s latest survey findings confirm that the Australian industry is experienced and well positioned to take advantage of the increasing global popularity of games,” said Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA.

“The introduction of the Digital Games Tax Offset [DGTO] in July 2022 injects certainty and confidence to our talented local market and those companies looking to invest in Australia.  The DGTO enables Australia to build a complete thriving local games ecosystem and ensure game developers both lead and shape the new digital economy.”

Overall, 62 per cent of studios claimed revenue was increasing, or at least stable, which is a huge increase from the 2020 survey result of just 33 per cent.

Established studios supposedly fared better — although IGEA’s release doesn’t clarify what an established studio is in this context — with 69 per cent reporting stable or increased overall revenue, and a whopping 63 per cent of those asserting they are growing their teams.

Interactive Games and Entertainment Association
Image: IGEA

Thankfully, just 4 per cent of those surveyed expected to make staff redundant, which is a huge win for the stability of the industry overall.

Additionally, half of the respondents asserted they are actually planning on increasing staff numbers this year.

As for where those staff will come from, 79 per cent of respondents said they’re hiring locally, with 33 percent looking for interstate talent and just 28 per cent still open to international hires.

“Now that we are fully flexible, hiring remotely has proven to be very workable for our studio. We have employed new staff from Queensland and New Zealand with no requirement to be in office,” Wargaming Sydney general manager Steve Wang said.

“Further to that, we have continued our internship program, pivoting to a remote offering. We recognise this as an important contribution to early career practitioners. Our latest interns spend one week in the office with the team, and manage the rest remotely and to date this has been very successful for all involved.”

On the negative side, 31 per cent of respondents unfortunately claimed they were affected by a loss of contractual revenue, while 61 per cent said the inability to travel to international trade shows and events negatively impacted their business.

Overall, the Australian video games industry has fared pretty well considering the circumstances, thanks – in part – to the 30% DGTO as part of the Federal Government’s Digital Economic strategy.

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