The Future of the Australian Gaming Industry

Ever since it emerged in the late 80’s, the Australian videogame industry has been trying to establish a foothold in the international market, experiencing moments of success and decline. The last few years have not been productive with several pioneer studios in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney shutting down, including Pandemic Studios, Krome Studios and more recently, THQ’s Brisbane and Melbourne studios. There are several reason for the loss in traction. First and foremost the fluctuations of the value of the Australian dollar often dictated where Studios choose to develop their projects. With the rise in the late 2000’s early 2010’s it is no surprise that some Studios decided that Australia wasn’t lucrative enough. The second id tax incentives for game developers overseas, for example, Quebec government subsidises 37.5% of videogame studios’ payrolls. This offer is designed to entice Studios to move and open in a certain location meaning that they either close down or simply don’t open in Australia. The third reason is with the increase in Indie gaming and game developers there has been a sharp decrease of middle-ground games, that is games that fall below triple-A titles.

Although Australian consumers are still buying games, they represent only 2% of the world market which means that Australian game companies need to export in order to survive which increases the risk that professionals or ‘talent’ are leaving to work overseas. The fact that the Australian game industry relies so heavily on international game studios and publishers means that in order to flourish they need proactive support from the government both at a state and federal level, like the Gam Developers’ Association of Australia. It is clear that there is plenty of talent and opportunity to develop a sustainable video game industry in Australia; proximity to the Asian market, expertise in online gaming and mobile gaming, and university programs in computer programs. The key is to encourage and maintain an ongoing dialogue between industry and policy advisors

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