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Kiwi developers bring in $100 million, proving gaming is a big deal

New Zealand’s game developers earned $100 million in the financial year which ended March 31, 2017, according to an independent survey of New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) studios.

This is a double-digit growth of 12% in the last year, up from to $89 million.

The continued growth of this industry in NZ does showcase that gaming and game development is a viable future industry and career choice.

James Everett NZGDA chairperson says, “$100m is a great milestone to hit but our real goal is to grow a billion-dollar industry in New Zealand within ten years.

“With some coordinated support to maximise our export potential, that’s achievable.”

“Finland’s game industry earned over $4 billion last year, for example.”

The industry will celebrate later this week when over 450 people are expected at the NZ Game Developers Conference at AUT University on Thursday and Friday.

Everett continues, “Game Development is a mix of two of New Zealand’s strongest sectors, creative and hi-tech. 

“In a global digital market, New Zealand creators have the same opportunity as anyone else to compete and succeed.”

“Much of our success to date comes from creating our own original creative IP and self-publishing it, while this cuts out the middlemen, it also means we must fund our own growth.”

55% of New Zealand’s studios describe themselves as independent self-publishers, 14% focus on contract work and outsourcing, while 28% mix contracting with developing their own original IP.

Developing and publishing original game IP seems to be the most successful business strategy, with 65% of studios’ revenue coming from direct sales and 14% from selling advertising in those games.

Contract work accounted for only 12% of revenues.

The industry’s already-strong export intensity increased further this year with 97% of revenue now coming from offshore, up from 93% last year. 

Hit New Zealand-made game Path of Exile was recently launched in China by Tencent, the world’s largest games publisher.

Tencent has also invested in Dunedin-based studio Rocketwerkz, founded by successful game designer Dean Hall.

Indie games Grabity and Sky Noon have been selected to showcase at the influential PAX Australia Expo in Melbourne in October.

As of March 2017, there were 500 professional game developers employed by studios in New Zealand, working in a mix of creative and technical roles.

Everett saying, “At the moment, R&D funding is the most pressing need facing the sector.

“It’s what is needed to develop more original creative IP for export.”

“Currently there’s a lack of coordination with the rest of New Zealand’s screen sector which can lead to missed opportunities too.”

The data comes from a survey of 29 New Zealand Game Developers Association studio members conducted by independent researchers Tim Thorpe Consulting Limited.

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