Australia’s video game development sector has more than doubled in size over the last six years, with over 770 new jobs created in the last year alone. These statistics come via the sixth annual Australian Game Development Survey from Australia’s Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA).
The IGEA expects this growth to continue, particularly following the introduction of the Federal Government’s Digital Games Tax Offset (a 30% refundable tax offset for the development of video games in Australia) and various other initiatives at state-level.
“The growth in revenue, employment, and confidence in the local game development sector is fantastic,” said IGEA CEO Ron Curry in a statement. “Businesses are maturing, studios are performing well, development teams are expanding, and international companies and investors are taking notice of Australia.”
Since the first year of the survey in 2016, Australia’s video game development industry has experienced a 148% increase in revenue. This has enabled a jobs boom within the sector, which has now risen to 2,104 employees. Around one-quarter of Australian studios are under five years old. Furthermore, 69% of developers are expecting to hire this financial year, which is predicted to create a minimum of 300 new jobs.
“We see smaller studios comfortably expand into medium-sized studios, and larger studios grow to over 100 employees,” continued Curry. “Australia finally has the capacity to build and nurture a thriving games industry and game development ecosystem; however, these expanding studios are facing the key hurdles of gaining access to mid to senior talent, which is essential for these expanding studios and dedicated financial support.”
The survey indicated the biggest challenge currently facing Australian games studios is securing employees with specialised skills, like programmers and engineers. Artists and designers are also amongst the roles eagerly sought by the games industry – roles which are in equally hot demand in Australia’s screen industry (which also benefits from a similar 30% tax offset scheme available for producers of film and TV projects within Australia).
Tapping into overseas has been mooted as the most-immediate solution to this skills shortage, but Curry stressed it’s important that the industry considers its future pipeline of local talent.
Luke is Games Editor at IGN’s Sydney office. You can chat to him on Twitter @MrLukeReilly.